Friday, January 29, 2016

Playing With Powdered Period Pigments

I'm teaching again!! It's been years, unfortunately. 

In early April you can take my "Playing With Period Pigments" class at the Bellewode Heraldic Scribal and Dance Symposium in Kirksville, MO. It is a safety and hands-on class, teaching paint production from natural earth powdered pigments. You'll take home the safety supplies and paints you make.

Would you care to see photos I snapped in 2010 of the same class? I just have two.

6 Ladies in medieval clothing working powdered pigments at a table
Calontir Scribes Playing with Powdered Pigments

Three Ladies in medieval clothing at a table making paint
Making Paint From Powder
My Messy Studio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What do I do to prepare? First I must clean out my neglected mini-studio. Poor thing has been ignored for a few months since I got hooked on blogging. I'll take stock of my handouts and supplies. Then I'll cajole/invite a few Lonely Tower scribes to take a condensed practice class.
20 raw rock samples in their display case
My Raw Rock Mineral Collection
                                                                     Each time I teach a class it's different. New, this time, you will see and hold my raw mineral rock collection. Ground to powder and added to a binder, these rocks make paint used in manuscript illumination . Some are used in paint to this day.
Getting started, wouldn't it be great if my studio were self-cleaning? I'd be ecstatic! You know, cleaning is usually last on my to-do list. There are so many crafts and computer things I rather do.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Sunday, January 17, 2016

SCA Melee Skill Practice at Winter War Maneuvers

This was the moment he most loved about tourneying, that first glorious sortie with banners streaming, trumpets blaring, and the earth atremble with pounding hooves as hundreds of knights came together in a spectacular clash of sound and fury. 
― Sharon Kay PenmanDevil's Brood
Have you ever seen Medieval-style fighting? Recently I saw SCA warriors preparing, so they could soon feel the spectacular clash as Penman describes. Calontir's army and guests thrash each other in melee skill practice, for the learning experience. This was at Mag Mor's Winter War Maneuvers.  
Many medieval style current fighters practicing skills.
Melee Warm Up

Pole armed fighters paying attention to instructions.
Listening to Instructions

You see apparent mass mayhem punctuated by "ring-side" instruction.
Small groups of standing armored fighters listening to directions
Fighters Gather for Group Directions

Field Court

Meetings and Court break up the day.    
Knights Swear Fealty to HRM Matsu

Another Melee Round Supervised by the Marshall 

Followed by more inspiring (or perspiring) melee practice.

On the sidelines, you saw children playing with crafts.
 And adults playing as children. 

Sharp sewing, eager embroidery, chipper chatting, spinning, lace making, eating, and various furtherance activities went unphotographed.  

At the final Closing Court, you saw His Majesty Matsu give out honors and make announcements. Unfortunately, I was already on my way home. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Ultimate Restaurant Food Group Hall: Flagship Commons

After my Tai Chi class this morning, I explored the indoor mall's new restaurant group food hall, the Flagship Commons. It opened a week ago, January 5th. 

They mailed me a $5 discount gift card. It was burning a big hole in my pocket. 

Flagship Commons Mall Entrance
Flagship Commons Mall Corridor Entrance
This is the inside Flagship Commons mall entrance. The low dividers you see serve as plate rests for future large crowds. Perhaps an opening movie night, since the AMC theaters are just to the left.
Flagship Commons Bar
Bar with Counter and Electrical Outlets

Near the mall corridor, just outside of Yonkers Department Store, is a full-service bar and an Aroma Coffeehouse station. Both have electrical outlets under their counters, encouraging long stays. A great place to wait for straggling shoppers. Or maybe a movie, light meal and drink date place.

What about entertaining children? Child-centered activities are at the mall's opposite end. It features a kid's play area and Scooters Coffee place. A Caines Chicken restaurant is coming there soon.

People lined up to buy at Juan Tacos
Juan Tacos and Customers

The Flagship Restaurant Group envisioned the fast casual restaurant commons, with eight food stations lining the outside. The showy Juan taco station is quite the eye catcher.

Flagship Commons Small Stage
Small Stage

A small stage provides entertainers or speakers elevation. In the future, you'll see singers, politicians and musicians making far fetched sounds to all who surround.

I spent my gift card plus $1.34 on a yummy Boomer pizza slice and fountain drink from Weirdough Pizza. A hefty slice, zingy, and garlicky. The fresh spinach with olive oil puzzled me, so I brushed it off with my fork and ate it like a side salad.

A well-conceived place, with seating variety: high counters and chairs, lounge chairs around a TV, booths and tables with chairs.   

Flagship Commons Table and Chair Seating with Customers
Flagship Commons Table and Chair Seating

All ages and capabilities will enjoy this space in different ways. I predict it will be a big draw and an upgrade for the mall. Bravo!!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

One Word Challenge 2016

Have you heard of the One Word Challenge? I recently discovered it. You pick one word as your year's focus. A positive challenge that fits with My Atypical 2016 Chuck-It List concepts. Easy. (I like simple.)

The first thing I did was google the phrase. Just in case, it was more complex than it seemed. I learned there are only two basic steps.
  • Thoughtfully select one word reflecting the possible future you. Examine all the aspects of your chosen word. Do you truly want those traits? Is that the person you want to become? Would this change your life?
  • Use your word every way you can: calendars, post-it notes, journaling, social media, art, hobbies, prayer, friends, quotes, bookmarks, to-do lists, doodles, decisions, chalk-boards...  For the coming year, focus on your chosen word daily.
That's it. Very simple.

The web pages promoting the One Word Challenge (and their products) tout its life-changing ability. They talk about the few years they have done this and the results. Is it worth a try?

Have you ever done a One Word Challenge? What were your results? Please, let us know in the comment section below. 

For my 2016 One Word Challenge, I have chosen the word "Enthusiasm". Do you think I will stay on point for the whole year?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

12th Night 2016: Barony of Lonely Tower's Midwinter SCA Festival

The Barony of the Lonely Tower delivered another striking Twelfth Night mid-winter SCA fete, January 2, 2016. Calontir Steel and Armored Combat fighters wielded weapons in multiple diverse contests.

Two fighters compete with faux swords
Armored Combat Competition

Lonely Tower's annual event kick starts the years event calendar. It delights Calontir's warmhearted, non-fighting populace with day-long friendship, fun, and festivities. 

The annual revelry presents all-ages activities, classes, and crafts.

Children playing with an adult watching
Children Share Activities

Lonely Tower's annual silent auction sells numerous thrifty SCA related items funding its local, weekly activities. 

Medievally dressed man looks at auction item
Graf Volkmar Considers Auction Item
HL Clare Supervises Silent Auction

At day's end, Calontir's rulers present the deserving populace awards, prizes and moving announcements.

Audience wait for court to begin.
Court Will Start Momentarily

Competetion Prize Presentation During Court

Lonely Tower's winter festivities enliven the dreary winter, providing fighters skill practice, others learning experiences and everyone friendly social exchange. Calontir is my extended family.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

What You Do When Your Blogging Laptop Stops?

I love blogging and the weather is predicted to be a blizzard. Might get snowed in. Then my laptop's fan stops working. 

Sure, given enough time the family tech support guy could fix it. With the holidays and his backlog, it would take months. I haven't been happy with it, since I got it. Plus, the Windows 10 upgrade is a disappointing. 

The impending, predicted storm and recent day-long power outage (You can read about that here.) made me wonder. I briefly researched "best laptops". Found another excuse, to get one now. Looked up how late Nebraska Furniture Mart was open. Who would have thought, they close at 6:00 pm? I have less than an hour. Ouch! No thinking time. I left within minutes. 

Yes, I bought a new laptop. Touch-screen, 8 Gig of storage, Windows 10, Bluetooth, and a DVD player. (The last one didn't have that.) With $80 off, it came to the ballpark of $500. A Toshiba Satellite L55DT. I am ecstatic!

I'm never confident purchasing a new computer, but I did make one good choice. The Mart now sells you their own virus protection/repair service warranty. The computer has free virus protection installed, for a month. I have breathing room. I can make the virus purchase decision purchase later. I've never had computer issues previously. And, this one happened after the computer was way over 2 years old. I didn't buy it.

Days later, I am still happy with the Toshiba and installed Windows 10. I will never upgrade an operating system again. I'll make do or buy new. 

With the old laptop running in safe mode, I transferred numerous files and photos. A time-consuming process. Photos were not well organized in the old computer. I couldn't find some I knew I had. Between the Bluetooth and a flash-drive, I got them and my documents over. 

The Toshiba Windows Photos program is wonderful. It pulls together photos so you know if you have duplicates and delete what you don't want. It's a little harder to recognize them the farther apart they are dated, but doable. I was able to remove the extras and some lurking originals of cropped images. So, I think I am caught up now and better organized. 

The blizzard arrived later and lighter than predicted. The power stayed on. Still, I wouldn't have wanted to venture out these last two days. This has been another learning experience and stimulation for the old brain cells.

Friday, January 1, 2016

My Atypical 2016 Chuck-it List

It's New Years Eve and I home with my fur friends, relaxing with a glass of wine. I have my day's responsibilities completed and look forward to the coming year. Time to make resolutions. Have you made resolutions for 2016?

My resolutions are not normal or typical. They are things I don't want to do again before I die. An anti-bucket list, some call a “chuck-it list”. (Others use a more colorful name.) Whatever you call it, it is a thoughtful list of things that deter living a happy, content life.

This 2016 I don't want to...

Funky dressed old couple dining out.
Living A Vibrant Old Age
  • care what other people think about me. This is a tough one as I “mature”. I want a vibrant old age, for sure. I want it for me, not to avoid others labeling me “old”. My fine, thin hair and missing nouns are me, now. I will embrace them.

  • stress about completing my to-do list. I am a can-do person, therefore, I have an active “to-do list”. I will continue to get things done. What I will give up is caring about items I miss. They are the less important ones, after all.

  • be negative. Regret, guilt, pride, heartache, depression drain creative thinking and fulfillment. While I can't stop them, I can take part in joyful activities that impede them.

  • be apathetic. I have things I want to do. Being almost 70, means the future may have less remaining active time available. Giving up apathy is taking control and using your available time. It is less being lazy, and more attitude.

Elderly woman appears to tell off older man inside a mall.
Publicly Sharing Opinions
  • care about society's expectations, what “they” think I should do. I am a Boomer. Revamping common collective assumptions is our nature and brand. Keeping myself and others safe, I will remain independent, an individual, and think for myself, as long as I possibly am able.

This is my 2016 broad-brush chuck-it list. A personal mission statement providing a crutch for strength and a future adventure handshake. 

I could include specifics to avoid like heights, snakes, filth, and political campaigns. There are other possibilities. Have you thought about making a chuck-it list? What would you put on your list?