General

Reflections Upon Becoming a Laurel Vigilant (It’s About Time)

13 January 2016
Genoveva-Vigilant

Me being placed on vigil to join the Order of the Laurel at Pentamere 12th Night on January 9, 2016 (Photo by THL Eva vanOldeBroek)

On Saturday, a significant and pivotal event occurred along my winding path in the SCA. I was invited to join the Order of the Laurel and placed on vigil. For those unfamiliar with this, it is the Society for Creative Anachronism’s highest honor for excellence and mastery in the arts. I am deeply honored to have been chosen to join the Order and I am greatly looking forward to “being a Laurel” and furthering the arts in our Society.

As you might imagine, I am still processing what this means, how I feel about it, and my intentions for my vigil and elevation to the Order. This will likely take me some time. I am definitely the “still waters run deep” sort of person.

There is one matter I would like to address now, however, and that is a sense by some of my dear friends that this was long overdue, that they were surprised it didn’t happen before now, and, well, it’s ABOUT TIME. For those who said this to me, I appreciate your kind words and I understand your sentiment, but I respectfully disagree on those points all save one: it really is about time. But not for the reason you might think.

As a member of the general populace, my perception of when someone was ready to become a Peer had a lot to do with time. I watched my fellow SCA members working at their art, doing their good deeds, and fighting the good fight. When I saw that someone had been doing something for a long time, with a purpose, I generally thought, “hey, someone should make that person a Peer!” I think this happens often, as I hear my friends and other members make similar remarks.

I recall one of my first thoughts about joining the Order came during Pennsic 2013. A friend from out of Kingdom looked at me and said, “You’re a Laurel, right?” Naturally I replied that I was not—I had not even received an arts award at that point. But it planted a seed in my mind. Why did she think I was a Laurel? Was I Laurel material? Should I be one if she thinks I should? Do I want to be one? And so on.

So now that it’s happened and I’ve been placed on vigil, what do I think? Was it long overdue? Was I held back? Were the Order’s expectations on me too hard? Did the Order make me wait too long and cause resentment and frustration and burnout? (All statements I’ve heard uttered.)

A good friend asked that I address these points for the benefit of others who may be thinking along these lines. I’ll do my best to give the honest answers, not just the noble answers. (That’s not easy for me, by the way. Still waters and all that.)

My inexpensive but lovely trestle table

My first A&S project, a table based on St. Jerome in His Study by Albrecht Dürer. I love this table. I’ve made nearly all of my A&S projects on it over the years, and it goes with me to Pennsic annually, too!

Was it long overdue? I started in the SCA in ’97, but didn’t progress. I began again in 2011 and jumped in with both feet. I made my first “thing” within one month (my early 16th c. trestle table), entered my first A&S display a few months later (blackwork), and entered not one, but two, things into my regional A&S competition nine months later (blackwork caul and the red goldwork Swabian gown I was wearing this past Saturday). From my observation of other artisans, this intense behavior was a bit unusual. But it was totally in keeping with my personality. I’m a go big or go home type. From an outside perspective, it may have seemed I was ready before now. Eight first place awards at Kingdom A&S and Pentathlon A&S Champion could give that impression. But despite this obvious enthusiasm, I was still a beginner at recreating period artifacts. It took time for me to dig deeper, understand nuances, create beautiful things that were both visually and structurally appealling  … and I’m still working on that. I have much further to travel and much more to learn. It’s only recently that I began to feel that I was achieving a sense of mastery, of hearing myself speak to others and being amazed at what information I was able to convey, and at my technical abilities that were all built upon one another. Only in the last few months had I finally arrived at a place where — frankly — I was less interested in other’s approval of my art and it was less of a motivation to do better. My motivation was turning inward, becoming more about my journey and less about proving myself to others.

IMG_6019

Me and my 16th c. style carved doll. Displaying and talking about my art took courage.

Was I held back? I don’t know what others have done, but I have no sense of this. It takes time to get to know people, and it took time for the Order to get to know me and see my progress. I won’t fall back on false modesty and say that I didn’t think I was ready, because I was already thinking of myself as a Peer long before I was recognized. If this seems impertinent, you must understand that I do not suffer from low self-esteem. My ego is quite healthy! But just because I know myself does not mean that others do. Part of this journey has been allowing the quiet parts of me to be seen by others. Being out there, displaying my art, writing blogs and tutorials, teaching, and sharing what I know with anyone who asks. These things took time and courage to do. When I consider how long it takes me make big moves in my own relationships, I’m rather impressed the Order came to know this aspect of me as quickly as they did.

Were the Order’s expectations on me too hard? Well, let’s see. My own personal signifier of mastery is the ability to write an entire book about one’s field of study and have it be well respected and regarded by its audience. That’s what I do in my modern world. Did they make me write a book? Have that book win awards? Have that book be a bestseller in its field? No, they did not. Thus, the Order’s expectations are actually lower than my personal ones for myself. (No, I do not expect others to do this in the SCA either, but the expectations I hold myself to are different than what I hold others to.) And for what it’s worth, I would one day like to write down what I know in a book so it can be preserved and shared with others, but I’m still a ways off from that. Just know that that that expectation has not changed just because of this event.

photo(179)

Winning the A&S Pentathlon in 2014 was both joyous and frustrating. It was frustrating not because I thought, “hey, I won now I should be a Laurel” but because it underscored the fact that not everyone was confident in me.

And finally, the big one … Did the Order make me wait too long and cause resentment and frustration and burnout? This one is a less pat answer. I’m rather an impatient person, as can be evidenced by my enthusiasm and history of making things. When I get a notion to do something, darn it, I want to do it. Now. Right away. I hate to wait. This is both a blessing and a curse. If I am completely honest, there were moments of frustration. I felt confident in myself, but there were times it was pretty clear to me that others were not as confident in me. That was difficult for me. But after I cooled off, I could see the solution — if some individual was not confident in me, then it was probably because I wasn’t expressing myself well enough. I usually didn’t even know that person. So then the ball was in my court to get to know them, and if I couldn’t do that for whatever reason (shyness), I could at least try to express myself to the world better. Because in the end, being recognized as a Peer is really just recognition of the awesomeness already present. It won’t change who you are, make you a better person, or anything like that. It’s recognizing something you should already be feeling inside. So, yeah, I felt frustrated when the Order didn’t work as fast as I wanted, but not resentful. Honestly, I’m grateful they even noticed me — I do not like to toil in obscurity. And now that I’ve been placed on vigil, I feel humbled that they chose me at all. It has put many things into perspective for me.

As for burnout, that’s really more about my inclination to take on ambitious projects. That is MY problem. That has nothing to do with the Order. I get burned out all the time. I also bounce back all the time. But the burnouts are usually preceded by burning brightly and making or doing something awesome, often something that challenged me to grow. So that’s alright with me. Life might be a bit boring and mundane for me otherwise.

Of all the things on my mind since this happened, a big one is how my being placed on vigil could make others feel — those who are not yet Peers but might like to be. Maybe someone out there reading this is feeling a bit sad, or overlooked, or just unrecognized.  Why her and not me? Or why her and not this other person? If we’re all honest with ourselves, I bet we all have felt this at one point or another. My best advice, and this comes direct from my psychology degree, is to neither repress this feeling nor to feed it. In time, you will find the ways to express the awesomeness inside you to the point that others recognize it, too. In that way, it really is all about time. Time to be the best you can be, time to share it with others, and time for the Order to recognize it.

Tutorial: Simple Canvas Dayshade for Events (with or without wings)

2 June 2014

CanvasDayshadeTutorialHere’s how to make a simple canvas sunshade that is pretty easy to set up and take down. The benefit of this particular sunshade is that it has a sloped back wall, providing protection against sun, wind, and rain. It even gives you a bit of privacy, useful for when you just want to shut out the sight that modern road behind you. You can add on optional wings for more privacy, and if you do, you can drop the front and effectively close up the space.

Dayshade Materials:

Here’s what you need to make this sunshade

  • Enough canvas to make a rectangle that is 120″ wide by 172″ long — you will need to piece lengths of canvas (use my tutorial on a felled seam to attach the lengths together) *
  • (Optional) Extra 60″ x 120″ of canvas for the privacy wings
  • Seven strong metal rings about 1″ in diameter (nine if you do the wings) — for reinforcing your hand-sewn grommets
  • Heavy cotton or linen thread and a long, strong needle — for sewing your hand-sewn grommets
  • One 2″ x 4″ x 132″ long wood ridge pole
  • Four 3″ x 3″ x 81″ long wood poles
  • Four 4″ long threaded bolts (to go into the end of your poles)
  • Seven 12″ long heavy-duty “nails” to use as tent stakes
  • Four 1/2″ cotton ropes
  • (Optional) Finials for the tops of the poles and paint for the poles/canvas (or just stain for the poles)

* Note on the canvas: If you only need sun protection, not rain protection, any outdoor-rated canvas will do. If you want your dayshade to keep the water off your head and belongings, however, you’ll need a heavy duty, water repellent 100% cotton canvas, such as 10 oz. Sunforger canvas. We do not recommend you use the canvas drop cloths from a hardware store unless you don’t mind getting wet!

 

Dayshade Pattern:

Here is the original plan of the various components of this sunshade (each set of gridelines represents one foot):

sloped-dayshade-pattern

 

Dayshade Instructions:

1. Cut your canvas as show in the pattern above. You’ll likely need to join several pieces of canvas to get a 120″ width (use my tutorial on a felled seam to attach the lengths together).

2. Hem all four sides of the main dayshade. We folded over the edge twice — a simple rolled hem — and stitched it on our sewing machine. Note that not all sewing machines can handle really heavy-duty canvas, so test yours out first. I used my ’90s era Kenmore sewing machine and went slowly.

3. Add grommets in each of the four corners, plus an extra one centered on the back edge. We do not recommend the brass grommets you can buy at the craft store — they will likely rip out (been there, done that). Instead, take the time to hand-sew your grommets. Use these directions, and sandwich in the metal ring between the canvas for extra reinforcement. Here’s what our grommets look like after plenty of use. Not pretty, but works great.

grommet

4. Cut your four poles to 81″ long and screw in a bolt to each end, making sure about 2″ of the bolt is sticking up. Make sure the bolt is small enough to easily go into your grommets made in step 3.

5. Cut your ridge pole to size (132″ long) and drill 1/2″ diameter holes roughly 6″ in on either side. Make sure your holes are large enough to allow the bolts inserted in step 4 to pass through.

6. If you want the optional privacy wings (we have not added ours yet), attach the longest side to the sides of the back sides of the day shade (use a flat fell seam again) and add grommets to the outer corners so you can stake them down or tie them to your poles.

7. If you want finials, find something appropriate at your local hardware store (or make something), drill a hole in the bottom that fits the end of your bolt, and stain/paint to look the way you want. Here’s one of our finials:

finial

That’s pretty much it!

 

Dayshade Setup:

1. Lay the dayshade on the ground, positioning the back edge where you want it to be.

2. Stake the back edge of the dayshade to the ground using the 12″ nails (or real iron tent stakes, if you have them).

3. Fold the front edge of the dayshade back, put the ridge pole on the ground in about the spot you want it, then fold the dayshade back over the ridge pole (it’s all still flat on the ground at this point).

4. Position the four poles on the ground around the corners of the dayshade.

5. Take a pole, insert it’s top bolt through the hole at the end of the ridge pole, then through the grommet in your canvas — stand it up, hook/tie a rope around the top, and stake it down. Repeat with the pole on the other side of the ridge pole. (We do this as a team — it’s much easier with two people.)

6. Insert the two front poles, attach the rope, and stake them down.

7. If you made finials, just put them over the top of your bolts in your poles (they stay on by gravity).

8. If you attached privacy wings, either tie the sides to the poles or stake the edges down through the grommets you added to each corner.

We use this sunshade at day-trip events — it sets up in about 10-15 minutes, and comes down in less time.

Here are some photos of the dayshade at events:

dayshade-red-dragon2 dayshade-red-dragon dayshadefront dayshadeback

We still plan to attach the wings, but as we have not yet, be aware that our pattern may not be perfect — we haven’t yet tested the wings. Looking at the angle of the dayshade when it is set up, it looks a bit more angled than we allowed for in our pattern. Yet that angle in the pattern should be correct, based on our calculations of the length of the top and back. So keep this in mind and your mileage may vary!

We have plans to pain the back of our dayshade since it provides such a nice big, blank canvas — we’re thinking something like this:

paint-idea

This is the heraldic shield on the back of Gregor’s cart and it incorporates the personal heraldry of our family, plus the German double-headed eagle. We shall see if we manage to do that!

If you have questions about the dayshade, please post here and we’ll do our best to help!

The Midrealm A&S Pentathlon: My Journey, Misadventures, and Resolutions

27 May 2014

This tale starts with a bit of beeswax.

If you’ve been following my blog, you probably know I was in the SCA briefly in the ’90s. I made a dress, attended several events, flirted with dancing (and a couple guys), went to various meetings, and picked out a name (Katarina). I drifted away, as I had no real purpose or anchor to it. Fast forward to my friend Tracy’s 50th birthday — she’s still in the SCA and she invites me to an SCA event where her birthday will be celebrated. As I’m reading through the event web page (which we didn’t have back when I began in the SCA), I see there are Arts & Sciences challenges. ‘Ooh, this is a new aspect of the SCA I had not noticed before,’ I think to myself. The stars align and I decide to give the SCA another try: I paint a portrait with a fleur in it to enter into the challenge, I make a Tudor gown to wear, and off I go. I have a blast and win the challenge. Among the prizes I received was a biscuit of beeswax. I had no idea why it was a prize at the time, but it had a fleur de lys on it and it smelled good. Duchess AnneMarie re-introduced me to the SCA, and the A&S aspect pulled me in. I was hooked this time.

From that point on, I began making all the things! I think that first year I might have driven some of my fellow baronial members crazy with my incessant blog and Facebook posting of projects and photos. I was just SO happy to have an outlet for creativity. I learned about A&S displays and entered my first blackwork project in it several months after that first event. (I discovered the many uses of beeswax during my first blackwork project!) A couple of months later there was an A&S heraldry competition at a local event that I entered and won. I was having SO much fun! Then I learned that our Barony had an A&S champion. I even though was only six months in at this point, I entered the competition for that anyway. I had my blackwork, woodwork, my first tellerbarret hat, and silk heraldic cloak on display. I wasn’t selected as baronial champion, but something significant happened anyway (because that’s how this works, you know). Master RanthlfR said to me something like, “Great work! I can’t wait to see what you do for the Pentathlon.”

Pentathlon? What the heck is that?

I researched this “Pentathlon” thing and discovered that each year the Midrealm hosts A&S competitions. A Pentathlon is waaaaay out of my reach, I think, but maybe I could enter a thing in the competition. A thing turns into two things when I finish my blackwork caul and my red German goldwork gown (that beeswax got more use!). I get a practice run at entering an A&S competition with the Day at St. Catherine’s Cloister: Demystifying A&S Competitions event, the brainchild of the late Dame Margarete of Stirlingshire (to whom I am so grateful). I meet many people and learn so much. I enter the regional A&S faire, and the person who checks me in enthusiastically is THL Gunnar (our new Kingdom A&S champion) — he mentions that pentathlon word again as he had entered it the previous year. I win a first and second place at Regional and get to go on to Kingdom. My judges comments guide me, I make tweaks to my projects and documentation, and I receive two first places at Kingdom.

The entire A&S competition experience that first year was positive and uplifting. The competitions motivated me to tackle (and finish) difficult projects. The judging gave me genuine feedback from like-minded people who didn’t mind sitting and chatting with me about my passions. The awards encouraged me to continue. Through my judging I met Mistress Crespine and Master Cellach, neither of whom were recognized as Laurels at the time and who both inspire and encourage me to this day. And through the face-to-face time and the written comments — and the other entrants’ work on display — I learn more about the importance of research and communication of process and ideas.

And that bit of beeswax? Somehow I’d brought it with me to each A&S event, though why I cannot say now.

I entered the A&S competition the following year (my goldhaube), but my experience was a bit rockier, the going a little harder. I had put my goldhaube together much later than expected because of a death in the family, but I was determined to do it. I was fortunate that my goldhaube earned a first place. I began judging other entrants at Kingdom A&S this year also, and discovered that not everyone had the same positive attitude about the creation of A&S. My beliefs and conceptions were challenged, and I faltered a bit that day. I am indebted to Gregor and Mistress Crespine for their counsel, which helped me overcome this hurdle.

Later that day in court, I listened intently as the pentathlon entrants’ scores were read and I watched in wonder as THL Heodez De Talento Minotto won the pentathlon and became the new Kingdom A&S Champion. Their Majesties recognized her and she inspired us — and it wasn’t just me who felt that inspiration. While waiting in the line to get our certificates and judging sheets, I heard many people declare their intention to enter a pentathlon one day. “One day I’d like to enter a pentathlon,” I heard myself say. And it was true. What a challenge it would be to enter at least five items in four different divisions. And, to share my inner thoughts a bit here, I thought it would be cool to win. Many of us won first place awards that day, but only one person really stood out (at least for me) as the premier entrant — she won the Pentathlon, was recognized and congratulated by the Crown and assembled populace, and was made Kingdom Champion and recognized at all the events she attended as Champion. I am not ashamed to admit that I love being recognized by my peers. I think most of us do!

And this year? It was everything that came before that pushed me to enter this year. The challenges I’d encountered motivated me to do some deep research, get the answers written down, and share it with everyone through a research paper. And once I did that and had to submit it for the A&S competition so early, I didn’t stop — I just kept writing, researching, and creating until I found I had those five projects. I don’t mean to oversimplify it — I have been gently accused of “making it seem too easy.” It was definitely hard work with lots of frustration, complications, very late nights, and a fair amount of bloodshed (darn carving knives). My beeswax was used and abused! But I also stretched into new areas, learned new skills, and expanded my mind. It was a WONDERFULLY HARD challenge! But … I only entered the pentathlon to accomplish the challenge, not with the intention of winning. Had I been trying to win, I would have entered seven, not five, projects. I also would not have entered any write-in entries (like my research paper or play), as those are judged just once with no option of tweaking in between regional and Kingdom (and those judges comments go a long way toward improving a project). But so what? I’D ENTERED A PENTATHLON. It felt great and I was on top of the world. This was my first try and perhaps next year I’d enter with the goal of winning.

I had a great day at the regional competition, despite my lack of sleep — I was up all night sewing, my trusty beeswax in hand. I had been hoping to get at least second places on my projects so I could go to Kingdom. I was pleasantly surprised to discover I’d gotten four first places and one second place. And those first places had scores higher than any of my previous projects — there were even a few perfect scores, a possibility which had not even occurred to me. That was a great day! Much gratitude to my Regional-level judges: Mistress Melisant Saint-Clair, Lady Godelina Blaubloeme, Lady Catherine of Deva,  Master Odo de Eu, Artemesia Voltera, Master Nigellus le Haie, THL Sarai Tindall, Mistress Gianetta Andreini da Vincenza, Mistress Sarafina Sinclair, Mistress Tyzes “Zsof” Sofia, Baroness Frances Elizabeth Devereux, THL Eva von Oldebrook, Master Maximilian der Zauberer, and THL Halla of Mugmort.

So my projects went on as a Pentathlon entry to Kingdom A&S. I did some updates to my documentation and arrived feeling really relaxed — this was helped by the fact that I felt I had no hopes of winning, so there was no anxiety. With three other Pentathlon entries by highly skilled entrants, two of whom had previously entered the Pentathlon, my chances were very slim and I simply let go of all those hopes and fears that accompany such a competition. I did encounter one little bump when I came face-to-face with my challenge from the previous year, but I chose to address it directly and positively — all was resolved well. That challenge had motivated me to learn more and produce an entire research paper — how can I not see that as a good thing now?

Many, many thanks to my Kingdom judges: Master Cellach Mac Cormach, Lady Colette the Seamstress, Baroness Frances Elizabeth Devereux, Master Avery Austringer, Baroness Katayoun Al-Aurvataspa, THL Aasa Sorensdottir, THL Odile di Brienne, Mistress Anthoinette de Martel, and Mistress Cerridwen verch Ioreword.

(Beware: Rant/Constructive Criticism Ahead. If you dislike such things, skip to the next paragraph!) Despite all this, court that evening was a bit of an ordeal. It was long and hot, for starters. The two A&S champions were chosen early on in court, though without any fanfare and no heraldic announcement — I did not even know they were A&S champions until much later because I could not hear a single word of what was said despite sitting in the fifth row. I was happy to see THL Gunnarr Alfljot (the A&S Champion) and Genevieve of Sternfeld (the Youth A&S Champion) recognized! But even though the main focus of the day was Kingdom A&S, the awards were not announced until 75 minutes after the start of court. And I felt more time and attention was given to the various tournament winners of the day (small tournaments, not Crown Tournament) than to those who I felt were the real stars of the day — the entrants of the A&S competition who had worked so hard in the months and perhaps even years to get here. Due to the lack of time, only names and awards were announced and it was asked that applause be held until the end and the entrants did not go up to receive their certificates (they were given out at the back of the hall after court). I felt upset on the behalf of my fellow artisans — there was a distinct lack of focus and attention on the bestowing of the awards. I want to point out that I do not feel this was any fault of the competition organizers, whom impressed me greatly with their efforts and organization. I know this varies year to year, but should I ever have the power to change this, I would make the A&S competition results the centerpiece of court, with each entrant called up, given their certificate, and asked to remain standing in the front (if they are able) for their friends and family to applaud them and see their faces. Entering an A&S competition is the culmination of a great deal of research and hard work, and NEEDS to be celebrated for the future well-being of our Kingdom and its populace. Competitions motivate, inspire, and recognize individuals to do their best at one of the three pillars of our Society, the Arts & Sciences. The Pentathlon scores were the final piece of court business and — given everything — it just felt anti-climatic … and quite unlike last year. (Rant off.)

So when the Pentathlon awards were announced, I was shocked and humbled to discover I had won. It is important to note that the scores for the pentathlon entries were all very close — only six points differentiated them. This means we ALL did a phenomenal job and I just got lucky to be the one with the highest score. It is my greatest hope that all the pentathlon entrants feel a great sense of satisfaction of their accomplishment. Many congratulations to THL Gunnarr Alfljot, THL Heodez De Talento Minotto, and Lady Lynette de Warenne for their amazing achievement! And hoobah to all the Kingdom A&S competition entrants and to the competition organizers — especially Master Philippe and Mistress Crespine — to whom I am so grateful!

I’ve been asked if I will enter the Pentathlon again, and while I cannot see into the future, I suspect I will not. Why? Because as the Pentathlon Champion, I feel my role is to motivate and inspire others to pursue their ideas and enter the A&S competition. I’d like to see others enter and win, and as the Pentathlon is comes down to a competition between the entrants, I would not want to inadvertently stand in anyone’s way of winning. Honor before victory is more than the name of this blog.

To that end, I intend to shine the spotlight on other artisans in our Kingdom. There are so many amazingly talented people and I want to get to know them better and share their talents with the Middle Kingdom and Knowne World! Over the next year, I’ll be focusing more on these inspirational people, learning about their arts and sciences, and introducing them to you through my blogs (either here or over at GermanRenaissance.net, depending upon their field). Please bookmark my blogs and watch for links!

As for this year’s A&S projects, I have already posted the documentation for my pleatwork smock and my wooden doll over at GermanRenaissance.net, and my pleatwork research paper and 16th c. play will follow soon. I will also continuing the posting of my tutorials on the various projects. Thank you to everyone for your support, kind words, and encouragement!

My little beeswax talisman is not forgotten. It’s seen me through every fiber-related project I’ve done in this time. Somehow, I don’t know how, I’ve managed to avoid losing it. It’s a little worse for wear, but still works great! I think everyone who wants one should have one, and I’ll be making beeswax ornaments and talismans for fellow artisans I see doing wonderful things, whether it be at a display, competition, class, or simply somewhere out there. So don’t be surprised to see a little beeswax feather or winged heart find its way to you!

Elders and Novices

6 May 2013

The intention of Elders and Novices is to provide folks new to the SCA with a contact person to assist with acclimating to the culture and traditions of our game. The relationship between the Elder and the Novice is intended to be of a defined period, primarily informational in nature, and one desired by both the Novice and the Elder. A coordinator will assist local and regional chatelaines with matching across organizations, assisting with requests, and looking into the possibility of working interkingdom for folks on the move.

For additional information or to share your interest, Contact Lady Anthoinette at toni dot martell at gmail dot com.

Purpose and Description (PDF file)

The Novice brochure (PDF file)

The Elder brochure (PDF file)

Children in the SCA: An Introduction for Newcomers

1 June 2012

[I’m working on adding information to The Barony of Cynnabar’s Newcomer page, and this is the first of several short and sweet articles I intend to write. – Genoveva]

Our children will lead tomorrow’s Society, and we encourage them to join in the fun today! It’s possible for most children, depending on their age and interest level, to participate in nearly every aspect of what we do in the SCA. The Society is not only a fabulous way to do fun things with your children, but it’s a tremendous learning opportunity for them as well. Yet it’s important to stress that the SCA is a family activity — most everything you’ll do together with your children under your direct supervision. Here’s a brief overview of how you can get your children involved and find their own special place in an SCA group:

Alexander in his pirate garb!

Garb (Clothing) — Dressing in medieval and renaissance-styled clothing is one of the best ways for your child to get into the mindset of “historical recreation.” I urge you not to make the mistake of thinking they won’t want to “dress up” or “they’re just kids, no one will care.” A simple tunic works for both girls and boys, and is easy and inexpensive to make — the tunic can go right over their normal clothes for convenience and comfort. If you’re interested in costuming, get your kids involved in choosing clothing they’ll enjoy wearing and picking out colors and fabrics. When I asked my son what he might like to wear if he were “in the old days,” he answered, “a pirate!” So together we settled on Elizabethan-era clothing of a doublet and breeches. He picked out the materials and even created the trim with tablet weaving (a new craft to learn!). He wears his garb with pride, and looks amazing!

Garb Tip #1: I made my son’s garb a little big, so he’s still able to wear it a year later and I estimate he still has a couple more years left before he outgrows it and we pass it on to a younger member.

Garb Tip #2: You don’t have to have lots of outfits for kids — you’ll notice Alexander wears his gold doublet in most of his photos. Kids are generally content to wear the same garb to events, and may take comfort in familiarity of it. Just be sure you can wash their garb in some manner, as kids get dirty! My son’s doublet isn’t machine washable, but the white shirt he wears is … and I wash it a lot!

Beading at Fall Coronation

Arts & Crafts — I don’t know about your kids, but my son ADORES arts and crafts. And the SCA is the perfect place to learn and try new crafts because we’re all researching and trying out handicrafts of all types. Many events will offer crafts for kids to do — things my son has made in just the last six months include a wooden pirate ship, an ornament, a leather pouch, marbled paper, cookies, spinning top, hammered copper, beaded favors, heraldic devices, and a working catapult! Check the Children’s Activities on an event’s schedule to find out what might be available. You can also do historical arts and crafts right in your home or local group — good projects for children include painting, tablet weaving, cooking, and embroidery. Kids may even be able to enter some arts & sciences displays and competitions, including the Youth Craftmens Faire and Prize Tourney in the spring and fall.

Craft Tip #1: If you’re going to an event without formal kids activities, bring along a craft box with historical crafts. I like to keep a craft box filled with clay, beads, and period games (such as pick-up sticks), all of which are easily obtainable at stores.

Alexander's boffer axe

Martial Arts — SCA “combat” is considered a Western martial art, and youths ages 6-17 can get involved in what’s called “boffer” combat. Boffers are padded lengths of PVC plastic with handles, allowing kids to learn combat techniques without being harmed. Kids have armor requirements like the adults, though their rules differ and less armor is required. You can get inexpensive armor by purchasing things like street hockey helmets from a used sporting goods store. If you’re interested in youth combat, ask your group’s Knight Marshall about how to get in touch with a Youth Combat Marshall and start learning!

Fencing — Youth ages 6-17 can also fence in the SCA!  From age 6 to 13, youth use plastic swords that cost about $20, and the same armor otherwise as an adult (gorget, mask, etc) — local fencing groups often will have youth loaner gear so children can first experience fencing for free. From age 14-17, they are allowed to use metal swords like adults, but only allowed to fence youth-approved adult fencers or other youths and are not allowed to participate in non-youth tournaments.  Again, fencing groups will usually have loaner gear for this age of youth also (since it exactly matches the gear for adults, just perhaps a bit smaller). [Information courtesy of Birke, Cynnabar’s Fencing Champion]

Archery — The Disney/Pixar “Brave” movie (summer 2012) brings a resurgence in kids’ interest in archery, and the SCA is a particularly good place to learn youth archery. A number of events encourage youth archery, which has an even lower barrier to entry than youth combat.

Service — A big aspect of being a member of the SCA is giving back to the community, and kids are encouraged to participate as well. Depending on their age, children can assist in group service and crafting projects, help retain for royalty and barons/baronesses, teach classes on arts and crafts they enjoy, and help other children feel welcome at meetings, practices, and events. My son, who is 7 at the time I’m writing this article, has done each of these things as proud member of the Barony of Cynnabar, from simply helping to keep a water cup full for someone who is otherwise occupied and painting shields for an upcoming war to teaching an embroidery class and folding brochures (and encouraging other kids into helping him fold said brochures). Your Kingdom may also offer a Page School to help develop leadership skills and promote the skills and knowledge of the Middle Ages, which is a fun (and recognizable) way for kids to contribute.

Alexander helping wrap presents at a group fundraiser

It’s important to note that there are responsibilities on the part of both the parents and the kids, but I consider them all basic common sense. Parents are responsible for the supervision, care, behavior, and well being of the children attending SCA activities at all times, minor waivers are required for minor children (they are available when you arrive at an event), etc. Children should only attend events with parental/guardian supervision, exhibit appropriate behavior at all times, and must be able to tell an adult their parent(s) SCA name, legal name, and where they can be found. Check with your Kingdom’s Minister of Youth for more details on their Youth Policy.

Putting together a puzzle at an event without organized kids activities

You may be wondering if your child will be interested in all this. I’ve experienced a wide variety of interest levels in children in the SCA, from “barely there” to “totally engaged.” The biggest common denominator in whether a child takes an interest appears to have a lot to do with their parent’s own interest level and encouragement of it in their child. If this is just “your thing,” and you’re dragging your kids along without any input or encouragement, it’s very likely they won’t enjoy themselves or be “bored.” If, on the other hand, you actively involve your children in planning activities, choosing events, packing, and helping out, you’ll find they are often active and engaged. That said, as children get older is a natural and healthy for them to seek our their own interests. Even in those cases, it’s healthy for children to experience “boredom” because it prompts them to seek out things, within their current context, rather than wait for you to entertain them. Don’t be afraid of boredom — it can lead to quite amazing things, given adequate supervision, of course. Teenagers can be a whole different scenario, and I don’t feel qualified to speak to that situation yet, so I encourage you to check out the SCA’s article on “Your Teenager and the SCA – Some Answers for Parents.”

I, for one, am over the moon happy about discovering the SCA and experiencing it with my son in the Barony of Cynnabar within the Middle Kingdom. It gives us quality time together doing something we both enjoy, it educates and stimulates his young mind, it teaches him how to behave around adults, it helps his interpersonal skills with other children, and it makes him feel involved in something bigger than our small family. I encourage all parents and families to get your kids involved in the SCA!

If you have questions about kids in the SCA, I’m happy to answer questions from a parent’s perspective, but please note that I am not a Youth Minister nor can I speak to SCA policy. Feel free to share this article with others (with proper attribution please).

Landsknecht German Garb: Overview and Resources

8 May 2012

In our Landsknecht/German Garb at Court. Photo by Lady Arielle

The Landsknecht were famed German mercenaries from the late 15th century to the middle of the 16th century. The daring soldiers were well compensated for their dangerous work, and when you combine that with the fact that they were exempt from most sumptuary laws, you get a group of people who enjoyed dressing flamboyantly. Their clothing tended to be bright (dye was pricey) and slashed (showy and hid tears and rips). Feathers were common because the merchants who followed the train sold them, and it was easy to buy one and just “stick a feather in your hat.” To learn more about the history of the Landsknecht, I highly recommend the 2002 book, Landsknecht Soldier by John Richards — it is well researched and illustrated.

A number of resources for Landsknecht garb is available online. Here are links to several I find very helpful:

Renaissance Costuming FAQ – Scroll down to the section on Landsknecht about midway down for a good overview of what men and women wore.

St. Maximilian – The web site of a company of the St. Maximilian Landsknecht Re-enactment Guild (check out the Costuming Guidelines).

Landsknecht Guild of St. Maurice – Check out their Resources page!

Landknechts & German Ren – Many images, woodcuts, and modern illustrations

Trossfrau and Landknechts – Period woodcuts depicting the women of the Landsknechts

Landsknect Dress Diary – Good detail!

Landsknechtsportal – Translated from German, and not updated recently, but full of patterns, information, and cultural information

The Real Landsknecht Page – A bit hard to follow, but some useful images and information

FiberGeek’s Landsknecht Diary – Dress diaries, image sources, and details on constructing a Woffenrock

German Captain’s Woffenrock – Dress diary, resources, images

The Frazzled Frau – An entire web site documenting German women’s garb. There isn’t much Landsknecht specifically, but several of the styles in the first half of the 16th century translate to female Landknecht wear

SCA German Renaissance Garb – Excellent resource with lots of images, research, and projects!

Woffenrock Dress Diary – Not entirely period, but interesting — and contains a number of links to source images which are helpful.

Hats and Underwear of the German/Swiss Woman from the 15th century – Not in English, but full of great information.

Gregor in his Woffenrock and Tellerbarret

Early German Renaissance Costumes – Excellent dress diaries

Landsknecht Woodcut Gallery – 24 images!

German Ren Costume – list on Yahoo Groups (will have to join to see messages)

Patterns:

Woffenrock by Reconstructing History – I used this to make Gregor’s Woffenrock and I think it turned out well.

Kampfrau or Common Woman’s Dress by Reconstructing History – Haven’t used it, but have it

German Accessories by Reconstructing History – I’ve tried several of these accessories and they worked well

Elizabethan Double Plaited Braid Stitch: A Step-By-Step Tutorial in Photos

30 September 2011

The Elizabethan Double Plaited Braid Stitch is a very lovely, intricate embroidery stitch that was used on coifs, sweet bags (purses), samplers in the 16th century. The braid stitch was usually done in gilt or silver-gilt thread. Examples can be found in the Victoria & Albert Museum (see examples: coif, sweet bag, sampler).

I tried for several weeks to master this braid stitch. My early attempts were close, but not quite right. Finally, after just keeping after it for a while, watching videos, studying photos of braid stitches, and scouring the web for ideas and tips, I finally figured it out. Here I present my method of working the Elizabethan double plaited braid stitch:

 

Materials:

  • Fabric (I’m using 32-count evenweave linen)
  • Thread (I’m using DMC Gold Metallic)
  • Blunt end needle (you want a blunt-end needle, NOT a sharp, so that the needle does not catch or pierce other threads — I’m using a tapestry needle)
  • Stick pin

Starting the Stitch – Step by Step:

1. First we need to get the stitch started. Thread your needle and mark your fabric with two parallel lines in some fashion, either by stitching it with thread (as I have done with the green in the photo below) or with a water-soluble marking pen. Bring your needle up at point A, as shown below on my fabric (you can click the image to see it larger):

 

Step 1; Bring Your Needle Up at Point A

If you’re having problems figuring out where each of these points are in your own fabric, here is a simpler chart of points A-F:

 

Point Chart

Step 2: Go down with your needle at point B, as shown below. Pull taut enough so the thread lies flat. (Sorry for the blurry photo!)

Step 2: Go down at point B.

Step 3: Come up with your needle at point C. Again, pull taut.

Step 3: Come up at point C.

Step 4: Go down with your needle at point D.

Step 4: Go down at point D.

Step 5: Come up with your needle at point B (yes, you’ve already got thread in this hole, but you need to go back in here), as shown:

Step 5: Come up at point B.

Step 6: Go down with your needle at point E. Pull taut.

Step 6: Go down at point E.

Step 7: Come up with your needle at point F. Pull taut. All threads should lie flat, though you don’t want anything TOO tight, as that will make it hard to braid and pucker your fabric.

Step 7: Go down at point F.

Step 8. Now, identify the the TWO crossed threads at the top of your stitch shown in this photo:

Identify your top cross

Now slide your needle under this cross, going under both threads, from bottom to top as shown below:

Step 8: Slide your needle under this cross.

Step 9: Next, identify the the THREE crossed threads at the bottom of your stitch shown in the photo below and slide your needle through. The three threads are the very first one you created in steps 1 and 2 above, the one you made in steps 4 and 5, and the one you just made in step 8. It can be tricky to locate these three threads — you may need to move your threads around a bit with your needle. But it’s important to go under all three threads, or your stitch won’t properly braid.

Step 9: Slide under the three threads at the bottom.

Important Tip: See the straight pin sticking out in the above photo? I put that there, just ahead of my stitching, to keep the loop I create in step 9 large enough for future steps. This was the key for making my braid look good. I highly recommend using a pin when you’re getting started.

 

The Four Main Stitches – Step by Step

At this point, you’ve started your stitch! Now I will explain the four steps you will do immedately fter this point, over and over, to continue stitching your braid. To differentiate from the above steps, I will use roman numerals. Step X: Bring your needle down at the top left. Keep your needle in place if you’re using one. You should pull taut, though not so tight that you strain your loop.

Step X: Go down at the top left.

Step XI: Come up with your needle at the bottom left, as shown below:

Step XI: Come up at the bottom left.

Step XII: Slide your needle through the THREE crossed threads at the top of your stitch, as shown below. To help you identify these three threads (it can be tricky until you know what to look for), I’ve colored them in the photo below (click to see it larger).

Step XII: Slide your thread under the three top crossed threads

Step XIII: Bring your thread around in a loop to the right and slide your needle up under the THREE cross threads at the bottom. Again, it’s hard to identify before you get practised, and I’ve colored the three threads again. (Note: My photo came out blurry, so I’m showing you two images — one with the threads before the needle goes through, to help you find them, and one with the needle sliding through.) If you’re using a pin to keep your loop in place, you can now move it over to the left in preparation for the new loop you’ll be making in this step.

Identify your three bottom crossed threads

Step XIII: Slide your needle through the bottom three crossed threads

That’s it’. Now you just repeat steps X-XIII until you’re done! This is how it looks after several stitches:

A plaited braid!

Notes:

  • Different threads will produce different results. The thin thread used here gives a looser looking braid — the metallic thread I’m using is pretty stiff. I like this. A thicker or fluffier thread would fill the braid in more (see photo lower on this page). I have ordered more thread and will experiment with different types! A thicker, yet more flexible, metallic thread would be nice!
  • As you go along, you may notice that your most recent stitches don’t look like the older stitches, but don’t worry. They aren’t being pulled in the same manner because you haven’t braided them yet. As you continue stitching, you’ll see that things fall into place.
  • If you don’t want to use a pin (it can be cumbersome — I like to hold it with the thumb and forefinger of my left hand, under my fabric, as I stitch), you could try using your right thumb to hold it in place and to stitch with your left hand. Or reverse the stitches and go in the other direction if you’re right-handed.
  • If you run out of thread, stop after step X, knot your thread under your fabric, and slide your needle through the stitches in the back, like this:

    Secure your thread underneath

Here is what the stitch looks like when done in a thicker thread:

Plaited braid stitch in thick thread

In the thicker thread, it’s easier to see that the stitch matches the one in this extant coif from the 16th century:

Coif with Gold Braid Stitching

And here is some of my plaited braid stitching on my current project:

Plaited braids on embroidered caul

Web links I found helpful while learning this stitch:

I hope this is helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions!

A Silken Standard!

5 July 2011

What is a medieval encampment without proud colors to fly over it? I’m to paint a pair of silken standards for Genoveva and myself and today finished a cheap “stretch-frame” so that I may begin painting this Thursday ( July 7th ). The frame is made out of 3/4″ PVC, 20 large binder clips, and lots of rubber bands… quick.. simple…cheap ( $12.00 ). Plus I can always spend another dollar and re-size the frame for other projects in the future. This will be my first attempt at anything even remotely like this and I look forward to the experience.

Note: It may look uneven now… but that’s just because I only put it together temperately for a few quick pictures (before the rains come’ith!)

Silk Standard on a Stretcher

The binder clips keep it secure

Many thanks to my good friends Charles and Kathy for the idea!

 

Cynnabar Fight Song

28 June 2011

This weekend at Cynnabar fighter practice (a “Kill and Grill”) we learned the new lyrics to the Cynnabar Fight Song, as follows:

 

 

Go forth and fight for Cynnabar

Beneath the dragon’s wing

Go forth and fight for Cynnabar

For baron and for king!

Very easy to remember and quite epic! To help me remember it, and hopefully learn the rest of the fight song, I recorded it. Here’s several of Cynnabar’s talented musicians teaching us and performing the song:

 

Here are the lyrics in full:

A New Cynnabar-Style Song for Fighting
(To the tune of ‘Nonesuch’)

Red Black and White our colors fly
So proud upon our tower
They show to all who fight with us
Our courage and our valor

CHORUS:
Go Forth and Fight for Cynnabar
Beneath the Dragon’s Wing
Go Forth and Fight for Cynnabar
For Baron and For King

Our mighty giant elephant
strikes terror in our foes
Impaling knaves upon his tusks
Their meat shall feed the crows

[CHORUS]

Our sweet saint Cynnabarius
Does bless our shining steel
His relics we will bear on high
To force our foes to kneel

[CHORUS]

Our fortress shall protect the land
No rogue nor cur admit
Our Barony is great and true
It never will submit

[CHORUS]

The Dragon’s blood runs through our veins
As hot as any fire
The tide of blood left in our wake
Is rising ever higher

[CHORUS]

Approval was obtained from each of the five musicians recorded in this video (thank you!)

A Trestle Table for Under $35: How I Built a 15th-Century-Style Table for Pennsic From an Old Door and Pine Boards

19 June 2011

My Trestle Table

If you’re prone to dancing on tables, read no further. But if you want an authentic-looking, wooden trestle table that you can take to events, or even use as a craft table in your home, do I have some woodworking plans for you! You won’t be able to dance on this table, sure, but its lightweight tabletop is perfect for lugging about without breaking your back … or your wallet!



How did these plans come about? In 2011 I joined the SCA and I needed a table for camping at Pennsic, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune on it. I could buy a couple sheets of plywood, but I want to use this table year-round for crafts, so I preferred something that would look nicer. Alas, oak and even select pine is really pricey — $100 and up for the project. My solution? I combined an old recycled door (for the table top) with inexpensive pine (for the legs and spacers) for a 15th-century, St. Jerome-style trestle table that comes in at under $35.

An Old Door for $5

What You Need:

  • 10 feet of 2″ x 4″ pine – $3
  • 10 feet of 2″ x 12″ pine – $10
  • 8 feet of 2″ x 10″ pine – $7
  • 1 36″ x 80″ hollow door slab – $5 at my local recycling center (or about $30 if you buy one new at Lowe’s)
  • Dowels- $1
  • 4 (four) 1″x 2″ x 8″ firring strips – $3.20
  • 1 12″ x 24″ x 1/2″ oak board – $3
  • Wood glue – $2

Total for the Table: $34.20

Optional Extras to Make Your Table Fancier:

  • Stain (Minwax Polyshades Antique Walnut Gloss) – $12
  • Moulding to put around the table edges – $20
  • Wood burning tool to make designs – $12

Equipment Used:

Jigsaw, circular saw, drill with boring bit, sander, chisel, mallet, pipe clamp, spring clamps, sawhorse, ruler, knife, permanent marker, safety goggles

Experience Required:

I’d say beginner-intermediate. I’ve only made a few things from wood (some benches, a two-step stair, some trellises), and I was able to create this table to my satisfaction.

So you may be wondering what in the Known World possessed me to use an old recycled door as a tabletop. I thought a door would be both inexpensive and light enough for me to carry on my own. I can’t very well use this table at Pennsic if I can’t even carry the tabletop to my camp site, now can I? A hollow door slab is really quite lightweight, but still strong enough to function as a great table. It’s true, no table dancing, but how often does that really happen anyway (oh, right, I’m going to Pennsic … )

A door is the perfect size for a trestle table

As for finding an old door, my local recycling center had about 50 of ’em, all for $5-$10. I was able to find one that hadn’t ever had a door handle installed, too. And it was already stained a good color. Just needed a little dusting! You might have one hanging around the house from a remodel (or know someone who does). And I’m convinced that doing something like this is period — our ancestors recycled wood, including old doors, whenever it made sense. Wood was never wasted.

As to whether you can actually use a hollow door slab as a tabletop, yes, you can! This is a common practice among folks who need furniture on a budget, model train enthusiasts who need a place for their layouts, drafters who need a desk, and crafters who want a large workspace.

The Table Plans

So here’s how to make the trestle table — these plans are adapted from those posted by Charles Oakley and bits and pieces picked up from other online sources.

1. Join the Leg Pieces: Cut the 2″ x 12″ board into four 30″ long pieces. Cut the 2″ x 10″ board into two 30″ long pieces. Place one of the 2″ x 10″ boards on the floor or some other flat place, and flank it with two of the 2″ x 12″ boards, creating 34″ x 30″ of wood. Repeat with the other three boards. Drill holes in the edges of the boards where they meet, then insert dowels into them and glue them in place with wood clue. Clamp and allow to dry for 24 hours.

Join the wood tightly and securely

2. Size the Tabletop (Optional): If you want to use the full length of your door slab, just skip this step. I wanted my table to fit into a free space in my studio so I could use it as a craft table, however, so I’m shortening my door slab. Here’s how to do it: Measure 58″ inches on your door slab and score it with a knife (this prevents splintering when we cut it). Cut the door so it is 58″ long (I used a circulate saw). [Note: You can vary the length of your table, but be sure to change the length of your stretchers in step 3 accordingly.] Make room in the newly open end by pulling out/pushing in the reinforcements you’ll find there. Cut your firring strips to about 34″ long and place them just inside the open end of the door for support on the end, using wood glue to keep the strips in place. Clamp and allow to dry.

Plug the open end of your hollow door with strips of wood and glue

3. Create the Stretchers: Take the 2″ x 4″ and cut into two 51″ lengths (shorten or lengthen this if you have a shorter or longer table than me). Trim the end of each spacer according to the diagram below. To create the mortise (the hole in the end of the stretcher), use a boring bit on your drill to drill in two places (either end of the bit of wood you want to remove), then use a jigsaw and/or chisel to remove the extra wood and smooth it down.

Cutting the ends of the stretchers

Mortise in the end of a stretcher

 

4. Create the tenon keys. The tenon key is the tapered bit of wood that will fit into the mortise and hold the legs and stretchers in place). You need four of them. Use the oak board (or just leftover pine) and cut the board into two 4″ x 7″ x 1/2″ pieces, then cut each of those boards diagonally in half and round the ends. Each key should be 1″ at the bottom and about 3″ at the top. You can this diagram (PDF file) to cut your tenon keys: trestle-table-tenon-key.pdf

One of the tenon keys

5. Cut away the extra wood in your table legs once the wood glue has dried (wait at least 24 hours). Here is the diagram I used for my table legs. I drew the pattern in Adobe Illustrator, printed it out tiled, taped the pages together, cut it out, and drew the pattern onto my wood. Just flip the pattern over to do the other side of the wood. Here’s the pattern I used in a PDF: trestle-table-leg-design.pdf

Marking my pattern on the wood

Cutting out the design on the legs

6. Assemble your table legs, stretchers, and tenons. Now that everything is cut out, put your table legs and stretchers together. You may find that some tenons don’t quite fit in some mortises, and now is the time to narrow/widen as necessary. Once it’s all put together just the way you like, take a permanent marker and write indicators on each board so you now how to assemble it quickly and easily next time.

Assembled legs with tenons firmly wedged in mortices

7. Attach tabletop anchors. As the tabletop is so light, I want to avoid actually attaching the tabletop to the legs, just in case the legs were a bit too heavy for it when it was picked up or otherwise moved. So I attached simple 1″ x 2″ boards to the underside of the table, on either side of where the legs meet the table, to hold the table in place and prevent it from moving about when used. I attached the boards to the very sides of the door, where it is solid, for the most secure hold — and this has the added advantage of strengthening the underside of the door a bit. Now the tabletop just rests on top of the legs, but doesn’t slide or move thanks to the anchor boards. (Note: If I find the tabletop moves or tilts during use, I’ll simple drill holes through the anchor boards and into the top of the legs, then slip a dowel through for stability.)

Anchor boards attached to the underside of the door/tabletop

And that’s it … the table is done!

 

A functional trestle table for under $35!

Now you can fancy it up, if you like. Since I’d saved so much in the construction of the table, I decided to put moulding around the edges and stain the moulding, legs, stretchers, and tenons. That cost an extra $32, although I’d already bought the stain for another purpose (my cooler cooler and my benches). Here is my completed table:

 

My inexpensive but lovely trestle table

Tips I Learned the Hard Way:

  • Buy dry wood. Wet wood is super heavy and hard to cut! And it won’t take any stain until it dries anyway.
  • If possible, smooth or otherwise plane the sides of the wood boards before you dowel and glue them together in step 1. This will really help the boards stay strong and stable.
  • When you apply any wood glue, put glue on all surfaces to be glued in a thin, even coat. And clean up any wood glue that beads or globs during the drying process — it’s really hard to get this glue off once it has dried.
  • When staining with tinted polyurethane like I did, keep a cloth handy to wipe drips — it gets tacky VERY FAST and is hard to wipe up later. Also, do not go back over previously stained areas (anything older than, say, 3 minutes) until it is absolutely dry because it will glob and gunk and look yucky. This happened with mine, and I got better at the staining thing as I went along (told you I wasn’t that experienced!)

All comments, questions, and suggestions for improvements most welcome!

Also, it’s probably not clear who wrote and made this table, but it was me (Genoveva), working on my own. Gregor was in another state at the time! He’s since helped with many other projects, but not this particular one.

Update 2/2014: This table continues to serve us very well and has survived six weeks at Pennsic so far. I am glad I used a hollow core door, especially now that we have quite a bit of stuff to bring to Pennsic and weight is an issue. The table gets near daily use at home, too, as my sewing table. Here are photos of the table in action:

 

Our table at Pennsic 40

Table at Pennsic 41

Table at Pennsic 42

Our table gets a lot of use!

My table functions as a sewing table at home most of the time

And we’re planning to bring it to Pennsic 43! And if you’re interested in camp furniture, check out these other things we made:

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