things I do in my spare time

December 17, 2014

On my trip to the UK in August, I finally visited Barley Hall in York.  This is a  recreation of a 14th century merchant’s house, with lots of exhibits and information and hands-on activities. Fascinating and informative.

While there I saw this pitcher:


Which I thought was a lovely thing, not fancy like what you normally see in museums, just a good example of what a well off but not noble family might have in their home.  I decided I wanted something like it.

So I went to our local paint-your-own pottery place and made this:


It’s a mug, because I’ll use a mug more than I’ll use a pitcher. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, and I’ll be the envy of all the other late-period English personae at SCA events.



November 17, 2014

That to do list isn’t getting any short, alas…

The monthly newsletter of the Holy Taco Church is out now!  Recipes, books, what more could you want?  Oh, and did you know if you sign up for the newsletter, you have a chance to win books and stuff?  It’s true!

I love xkcd because every now and then I just go YUP.  Today’s is like that.  I once went on a date with a guy who asked me that (“Do you like me?”) after I’d known him for all of ten days.  I gave him pretty much that answer (“There is as yet insufficient data for a meaningful answer.”), and he got mad.  There was no second date.

Another picture from the Ireland trip.  This is the Creevykeel court tomb:



belated Halloween report

November 7, 2014

One of my jobs as Bohemian aunt is to design and make Halloween costumes for niece Emmy.  This year’s challenge:  a toddler-appropriate Wonder Woman outfit.  Voila:

Emmy wonder woman 2

Isn’t she a hoot?  She chose the pink cowboy boots herself, and I think they’re perfect.

So when I talked on the phone with Emmy about her costume (she was very excited about getting a costume), she asked me what I was going to be for Halloween.  I told her I had a ballgown I would be wearing to a masquerade.  She demanded pictures.  This is what I sent her:

IMG_5858 - Copy

I love this one because I didn’t have to make a single new thing.  I pulled everything out of my closet: my Elizabethan corset that I made forever ago, the cartridge-pleated skirt I got at an SCA rummage sale a while back, a scrap of pink tulle I had in my stash.  I designed the whole thing around the headdress, which I hardly ever get to wear:  it was made by Judith Rauchfuss of Leopards Leap. She makes the most amazing wonderful creations, and I’m so pleased to have a piece of hers that she made just for me.  She has an etsy store and a website.

And I believe a good time was had by all.


Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2014

My partying and costuming will happen tomorrow.  I promised niece Emmy pictures of my ball gown for the masquerade I’m attending, so I’ll post those, assuming they turn out.

In the meantime, ’tis the season for All Hallow’s Read, and the recommending of scary books.  Some of mine:

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells.  My favorite scariest book, bar none.  Seriously wicked.

The October Country by Ray Bradbury. Possibly the greatest horror/supernatural short story collection of all time.  Includes the my all-time favorite story, “Homecoming.”  (In other horrifying news, in googling info for this post I discovered that the first hit for “The October Country Homecoming” is a link to Cliffs Notes for “Homecoming.”  For the single story.  Dammit people, just read it, it’s not that long or complicated!)

Sunshine by Robin McKinley.  This is truly the anti-Twilight.  Girl lives in small town, girl meets vampire — and things do not go well.

What are some of your favorite scary books?


So I got this idea after Phoenix Comic Con.  I go to conventions and there’s so much cosplay for anime shows that I don’t recognize, and am not familiar with.  I decided that one way to engage would be to make some anime costumes from the shows I watched when I was a kid — some old-school anime cosplay.  I decided this was a great idea, and my artificial deadline became MileHi Con.  A group of us did an Artemis Bridge simulator demo with James S.A. Corey on hand, and while everyone else was wearing Star Trek OS shirts, I was wearing this:


I mentioned learning that turning a 2-D drawing into an actual outfit was a bit of a challenge — that’s because the lapels on this outfit make no sense when you’re trying to make it.  I’ve made jackets and collars before.  I was thinking of the rules I already knew about making jackets and collars.  Turns out, I had to look at the picture of the Robotech uniform and pretty much just physically cut and sew the pattern to look like the picture rather than trying to make it look like the lapels of a conventional jacket.  Lesson learned!

I had a lot of fun with this, but I also learned that at least among the MileHi crowd, Robotech was not instantly recognizable.  I’m super curious now about what would happen and how many people would recognize it if I wore it to Starfest or one of the comic cons.

(Update: I read over this and realized I forgot to mention that this is Lisa Hayes’ uniform from the original Robotech. Because that’s where my brain is right now.)


We truly live in an age of riches, don’t we?  At least on TV.  I can’t keep up with it all, but here’s what I’m trying to keep up with.

Castle:  Well, that’s a strange little storyline they’ve picked up with the season cliffhanger.  I’m glad they’re pretty much ignoring it for now and going back to fun one-off episodes.  This may not be my favorite show anymore, but I’m still enjoying it and the characters, and it hasn’t actively pissed me off yet, and I’m starting to wonder when that’s going to happen.

Arrow:  Still love it, but they’re not giving us a break, are they?

The Flash:  It’s just so goofy and earnest I kind of love it.  One thing I’m really liking:  setting Barry up as this very young, naive hero with two mentor/father figures who know who and what he is, who are protective of him (for different reasons) and at odds with each other.  I’m liking that dynamic.  They’ve also nailed the look and attitude.  Sometimes, voice overs work.

Sleepy Hollow:  I’m just along for the giant WTF ride.

Agents of SHIELD:  Yeah, the standard for superhero TV seems to be “Just throw everything at the viewer all the time yay!” and that’s okay with me.  I’m loving Kyle MacLachlan’s character, and loving that he’s on the show at all.  Adrienne Palicki has given us a hint of what that Wonder Woman TV show that failed to launch a few years ago might have been like if the people making it had known what they were doing.  I’m really liking her (and not just because she was also Lady Jaye in the last GI Joe movie).  In an alternate world, the makers of Arrow worked on Wonder Woman instead.  And now I’m sad about the whole thing all over again.

Face Off:  Still watching, it’s always pleasant watching good art, but this season has been low key and kind of predictable.  I will love it if the former cake decorator wins.

What I’m not watching, not caught up on:

Doctor Who:  I keep telling myself I want to watch this, then keep not watching it.  I know I saw the first episode with the new Doctor.  I can’t actually remember anything about it.  Oh — dinosaurs, right?  I think what I remember about it is that I really want a show starring Madame Vastra and Jenny.

Justified:  Fifth season is spun up and ready to go. No spoilers!

Penny Dreadful:  This is out on DVD now, and it’s the one I really want to see.  Victorian Gothic, with literary references?  This should be called “Carrie, Here Is Your Show!”


travel pic: Newgrange

October 20, 2014

This is the front stone of the neolithic passage tomb at Newgrange:


I saw it, and felt like I was looking at one of the greatest pieces of artwork in the world.  Perfect abstraction 5000 years before actual abstract art became a thing.  (I usually try to take pictures of things without people in them, but I’m glad now that people ended up in this one so you can see the scale of it.)

The tours I took in Ireland were good because they put a lot of history in context for me — especially prehistory, because I kind of had no idea.  Newgrange is old.  Older than Stonehenge.  I kept thinking about the level of organization and sophistication required for a society to be able to put these things together, and it blew my mind, because I realized that there are thousands of tombs, forts, stone circles, and monuments scattered over Britain and Ireland, and that this extensive culture existed to support all that — some 3000 years before the Celts came along.  Everyone thinks of the the Celts when they think of Ireland.  But there was so much more going on before then.

Yeah, I kind of got obsessed.  And yeah, I wrote a story already.  We’ll see what more comes out of this obsession.



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