mrsbrown: (Default)
I need a replacement for my bellarmine jug. The big cup that I used for tea drinking every morning and the dropped when I slipped on the steps at Canterbury Fair. Here's a collection of fun images I've found while surfing on my phone this morning.

These pointed nose jugs are adorable and not very different from the owl jug/cup bought for a friend a couple of years ago. The last one is closest.

What does a spinning jug get used for? It's tiny!

Fantastic picture of a rectangular tent

Another name for bellarmine jugs is brtman jug. This one's lovely

The SCA needs more enormous water jugs like these.
I guess these proportions would be useful for a water jug - 19cm h and 17cm w, but I was imagining something even larger.

Kitchen interiors are always worth a closer look


Oct. 1st, 2016 08:07 am
mrsbrown: (Default)
 I've been thinking this week about leadership, or possibly more correctly, getting people to do what I want them to.

I've been feeling the impotent annoyance that I remember feeling in the weeks before I stepped up as Baroness.  In particular, an incident when I arrived at Monthly Bash and saw a rabble of people not sure what to do.  I made my suggestions and was ignored.  it was super annoying and I remember the feeling of frustration and the almost shrill voice in my head as I raged internally about people not listening to my sensible suggestions/requests. I think I felt a bit invisible too.

My memory says that a week later, the day after our investiture, I arrived at the Sunday Tourney site to a similar rabble of people.  I was greeted enthusiastically by the people present, who bowed and nodded, "Your Excellency!".  I walked over, took stock and asked people to help unload the car, directed where the tourney field should be and got people involved in setting up the sunshade.  It was wonderful and I spent the following week reflecting on the difference and what made people listen to obey me one week  after comprehensively ignoring me.

A couple of years later, I watched my Boss designate a person  (N) I thought too young as his successor and 2 months later my Boss left on extended sick leave and died of a brain tumour.  Everyone in the company happily did as N directed, even while she confided in me that she didn't want to be the person solely responsible.  N was, in fact, great and I was happy to follow her.

I decided that it had to do with people wanting a designated leader. Someone who is anointed or named in some way as the leader.  As soon as they have, I guess they can stop worrying about deciding it for themselves and get on with just doing whatever the leader says that's basically reasonable. It's a successful approach, because most times doing something is a better option than angsting about what to do, so it's hard for a leader to get it wrong.

Oh, that's why H has set himself up as the "captain" of his pirate ship.  It automatically makes him the leader.  I wonder what equivalent I could adopt?  Would it work for a nearly fifty grey haired old lady?  Would it get me what I want?

Alternatively I need to work on the charisma side of the leadership thing, or borrow someone else's charisma.


Mar. 14th, 2016 08:25 am
mrsbrown: (tent)
 My dream this morning was about finding a safe place to give birth.

There was a monster/demon looking for me and they needed me before I had given birth.  I was at Festival and a midwife agreed to find me a quiet space at the hospital, with the right people around me.  People who could protect me from the demon.

We found the spot. I was a bit exposed, near the front entrance and the Bishop came.  I asked "why him" and the midwife spoke of her faith.  When I turned  to tell him to go, he was gone.  The others came and talked of their skills and we set up a curtain to screen me from the entrance.

Time passed and I had the urge to leave.  I knew the midwife was the wrong person so I secretly left with my companion and the demon fighting equipment.  We walked through the linear park.  I was heading for the dog enclosure, a place surrounded by trees.

I heard something coming behind us and I started running and we missed the access to my preferred destination and ended up in the tunnels.  After running for a while more

We chose the exit and looked back where we saw the midwife sitting, waiting.  We ignored her and headed for the trees.  I sat and, while I wasn't in pain, knew that it wasn't long before I gave birth.  A woolly alpaca type animal came over, but ignored me and addressed something behind a large tree.  While that was happening, a larger than life, godlike person came to me and insisted on checking my blood pressure and birth progress. (It's ok, no vaginal exam).  As she finished the alpaca ran forward and killed the invisible monster hiding behind the tree.

I was pretty happy.  There were trees around and I could give birth.  I started feeding apples into the processor.

There was also a meeting with my prospective birth attendants in a restaurant.  A real life acquaintance was there with her daughter and I made several attempts to get her to be interested in the reason I was there.  I even found a picture story book with Violent Femmes lyrics for her daughter, but it wouldn't work, I couldn't get her to pay me attention.

I think this dream is about safety and how I don't feel safe right now.  About how my safety and value as a member of the sca community was attacked yesterday in my interactions of facebook.  I had four negative interactions and I'm feeling sufficiently fragile that they hit me really hard and made me dream about my safety in that environment.

I wish people would acknowledge the good intentions that people have, rather than putting them straight into the "authenticity nazi" bucket.

I'm feeling a bit better that I was able to be safe, and also about the re-birth aspects.  Also amused that when I had found a safe place I was able to grate apples.

mrsbrown: (Default)
Fermenter and equipment soaked, washed and sanitised with bleach (4ml/L), then rinsed with boiled water.

26L of Aldi apple juice acquired (reconstituted apple juice, acidity regulator (330), vitamin C, flavour (!)

Pour apple juice into fermenter, add Nottingham Ale yeast.

Pitching temp 20degrees, 18 degrees by bedtime and 16 degrees this morning.  I expect it will warm up a bit today, but it's on a concrete slab which will help with temp moderation (I hope).

There was pressure in the air lock about 20min after pitching, but no steady gloop yet.
mrsbrown: (Default)
I had a terrible time at the meeting last night.  It was inevitable, but I could have prepared better.

I want the Stormhold website to be moved to a wordpress site (from Drupal), I want the currant admin to change and I'll take the job myself if I have to.

Doing that is fraught, as the current admin has had the job for the past 20 years (at least) and is emotionally attached to the job. 

I did a lot of work with the current admin about 8 years ago, when he was just as attached to the job.  I spent a lot of time and energy carefully making the drupal website look and have the best functionality I could.  It was a place I was happy to send newcomers to and I would regularly check what was going on and I had a person lined up who updated the events pages regularly.  I stopped being Baroness and attending council meetings and then, either  the main server crashed or he updated the version of drupal we were using and he lost the lot and had to rebuild.  Some of the pages I had carefully written and coded could only be retrieved from the wayback machine.

The new version of the website looks dreadful, it's not mobile responsive and the regular event updates are gone.  Also, I no longer have admin access and even if I did, now that I know wordpress I would rather use that.  The current website is too difficult  annoying for anyone to use.

Anyway, after a very confrontational discussion (with no control exercised by the meeting chair) it was agreed that we would prepare a pros and cons paper for the next meeting.  This is a typical approach to solving these sorts of conflicts - put it off until next time.  The problem is, the real problem is the current admin - he needs to go.  Hmmm maybe that's why I can't have a reasonable discussion with him about improving the website experience for the Barony - all of my language and posture show what I really think.

Maybe there's another way?  Can I get the Masonry team to ban drupal from the server?

Goals for the Baronial website:
  1. Provide useful meeting and event info for members and newcomers
  2. Be a place that gets people to visit regularly
  3. Includes enough information for newcomers to be attracted and motivated to come to a meeting/event
  4. Can have information added by any of our event stewards
  5. Is easily updated by any of our officers
  6. Is updated often enough that people don't have to rely on facebook for group information
  7. Has a level of automation for event updates - google calendar feed
  8. Can be used by local groups to plan their events around ours.
  9. Can be used to contact us by the media etc
  10. Provides useful resources for members
  11. Encourages traffic to our members blogs
  12. Looks good enough that people get the impression we know what we're doing
Here's a simple table version of a comparison between drupal, joomla and wordpress.

I'm convinced that drupal is too complicated for us to get a site which works for our weird community based organisation.

mrsbrown: (Default)
Watching stuff going on in the Barony and remembering my own problems with harassment and difficult people I was motivated to find out some stuff and I'm saving the links here with my comments so I can find them again later.

I started with the Lochac dispute resolution document here . It's changed a fair bit since I last looked and has some good stuff on timelines and who should do what. I can't help feeling though that it doesn't quite address the consequences to the harasser that I'm looking for and also doesn't seem to be very good at some of the social group management that I think needs to happen.

Some of what's happening almost feels like some of the tech and fan conference harassment issues that I've read about both here, and through the geek feminism blog. (These sorts of things)

So I went and found the conference harassment policy resources prepared by the Ada Initiative. It has some things in common with the dispute resolution stuff, but obviously has a bit more about proactively discouraging bad behaviour and what to do about harassers and their impact on the conference. I like the stuff about making the reporting process really obvious and making the actions taken transparent to the whole community.

One of the interesting comments that comes up in the SCA community is that we are so used to dealing with people who have poor social skills that we make allowances for bad behaviour.  From my reading tonight I think we should stop doing that.

I think the SCA needs to
1. have a code of conduct
2. publicise it
3. provide dispute mentors so if you're not sure what to do, you know who to ask.
4. Be a bit more transparent about sanctions

mrsbrown: (Default)
This was going to be a class outline for one breadmaking class, but I think there's too much I want to share to fit just one class. Here's what I can tell people about;
  • Ovens - history, construction, how to fire, how to cook stuff other than bread.
  • Bread - process, routines at home and at Festival, sourdough and yeast
  • Cooking bread without an oven - flat bread recipes, cooking techniques

And, now I think about it, I can also run;
  • Currant buns - tour of community bakery and watch currant buns come out of oven.  Eat currant buns, materials charge of $2 per bun
  • Making faggots - kid friendly class on fuel for the bakery.  Faggot makers will receive a currant bun.
  • Bread making with children - mucking around with dough.

Bread making -about 10am on Friday

Discuss flour - wholemeal, spelt, white
Discuss routines - sourdough and yeast, at home and at Festival
Make sourdough and shape loaves
Make sponge for next day  (enough for current buns at current bun eating class on Sat)

Charge for materials - 0.5kg flour per person - $2 each?

- Friday about 3pm

How to fire - practical demonstration while talking
types of ovens - brick, wicker, cob
How used in period - central bakery, household bakery, communal bakery
Tools and equipment in the bakery

Cooking bread without an oven
- in the morning sometime, 9am so the fire is still going?
Make the following breads
  • sourdough in dutch oven and on flat plate
  • flat bread - with yeast
  • flat bread - with shortening

pre-make bread dough for playing with, shape half into loaf
pre-heat dutch oven (tiny or borrow one) (5min)
mix yeast flat bread - leave to rise (20 min)
mix shortening flat bread (20min)
roll out some sourdough bread

put loaf into cook in dutch oven (30min)
cook yeast flat bread on lid of saxburger/pizza stone (15min)
cook shortening flat bread (15min)
pull out bread

eat and enjoy!

mrsbrown: (Default)
We leave for the US on Tuesday, I have a long list of things I want to do - some for the trip and some for leaving the household in shape to cope without us for 3 weeks. 

Having started the "clean the kitchen task", with a side trip into "make bread for lunch", I'm stuffed and having a sit down.  I think I'll need to persuade someone to go and get those antibiotics I persuaded the doctor into giving me a prescription for after having a stuffed up nose for more than a week.

Anyway, I made a sloppy bread dough and left it to rise and glutenise (no kneading required).  Then 2 hours later I sprinkled some flour on top and used my bread scraper to get the dough off the bowl and turn the ball to cover the entire mass with flour.  then I thought, "what am I going to do at Festival when I want to make bread like this?"  Did they have medieval dough scrapers?

I have a plastic one, but it looks like you can also get metal ones with wooden handles.


A summary of 19th C sources refers to a dough cutter and dough scraper.  There's a lso a picture of a scraper from

Various utensils used by French bakers, late 18th century.
fig. 6. Fire rake
fig. 8. Swabber or scuffle
fig. 10. Wooden peel
fig. 11. Scraper
fig. 12. Iron shovel to draw out coals

(From Diderot, Encyclopédie, I, section on "Boulanger.")

The same source has this description of a dough knife or cutter: Edlin's 1805 Treatise, "usually of the size of a large carver, with a round point and blunt, like a painter's pallet knife.

OMG!!!  I found a site that has historical tools catalogued by shape, profession and name

The dough scrapers they have look really useful when you're dealing with a lot of dough in a dough trough, but aren't the shape I've been finding useful.

Looking a bit further, I find a "dough grater"  (the pictures include the link to the page that has a photo of the actual object)

Hmm, You can also get a scraper in what seems to be the "modern" shape in wood;

More to come, saving some random awesome links in the meantime;

A real, 17th century portable oven, with measurements.

A collection o images that look like a recreation/used Tudor kitchen
, with a lovely bread oven and possible copper combo.

Normandy kitchen!

stupid hats

Jun. 8th, 2012 08:23 pm
mrsbrown: (Default)
I'm inspired by this

This article suggests that they might be inspired by the barbette or the hennin with wires

Here are some others I quite like;

I quite like the process Cynthia Virtue used to work out how to make it.

mrsbrown: (Default)
A colection of quick links:

Photos someone took as research for their lego creation from the virginia Frontier Culture Museum.  It's a german barn and they took photos of the inside of the tile roof, the kitchen and a breakaway of the wattle and daub.  Photos at the bottom of the page here.

Next week, when things are open again, I'll have a better look for a modern tile that is medieval enough.  Otherwise, we'll have to make our own.

mrsbrown: (Default)
Draco  )

Winged Windsock )

Pennon Kite )

Dragon/rectangular kite )

I'm still looking for the reference quoted below;
In spite of their hostile origins, there is evidence that kites were used for play as well. A German illumination from 1405 shows a young boy riding on horseback while flying a kite. The manuscript itself describes how a kite should be flown, how the strings should be attached, and what it should look like. (Full article here.)

mrsbrown: (Default)
After I posted all those tent posts on Sunday I discovered that Wordpress will show you statistics like how many people have viewed your site and where they've come from and what google search terms they used to find it.  Its as good as getting lots of comments on a LJ/DW post!

so tonight I wrote two more posts!

[personal profile] doushkasmum 's new geteld pattern

the Innilgard tent design and construction

I'm currently writing the instructions to erect the Innilgard tent, so I'll be putting those up soon.

mrsbrown: (Default)
My friends have lately taken up the Flemish working women's thang. And I like it, I even have a bodice pattern, waiting for a burst of enthusiasm.

There are lots of people who have made the brueghel gown, apron and head dress. but I haven't found many dress diaries for people who've made/researched/documented the kirtle that goes underneath.  So I started looking a bit harder at the Brueghel stuff.

The attraction of the Flemish working women thing  the ability to hitch up your skirts, unpin your sleeves and be cool. So here's a different way of doing it, that doesn't need a partlet to maintain your modesty. 

Thought no 2:  If you took the same rectangle of fabric as you would use for the fashionable flemish bodice, and inserted a triangle of fabric in the back, would you get the construction every body notices in the back of the grey gown here?  And could you apply that philosophy to the kirtle above?

an update

Jan. 18th, 2010 10:03 pm
mrsbrown: (Default)
I had great plans to actually _do_ stuff tonight, as distinct from sitting at my computer.  But my body intervened.  It's cold so I've been reluctant to move since sitting on the couch with a blanket on my lap.  When my computer battery beeped and my power supply was next to the bed, I took it as a sign and that's where I am now, with my eyes furiously blinking and conspiring to get in the way of my plan to watch Pride and Prejudice.

Actually, Rose helped too.  She sat and annoyed me for a little while and then clunked it with her head on my arm.  I just had to put her to bed and my evening was my own.

Anyway, instead of _doing_ stuff, I electronically drafted the pattern for my smock which I've measured off the real thing several times now and then lost the piece of paper.

I'm not going to lose the piece of paper now that I've written it up in my pattern blog.

rain_and_snow if you haven't already made it them, you might find it useful.

mrsbrown: (sca baby)
When buying a full set of recorders for AU $200-$300, should I buy  (in order of increasing price) the white set, the black and white set or the fake woodgrain set?

Edit:  New Plan!!  I'll spend twice  four times as much and buy a kit to make a set of Crumhorns

mrsbrown: (Default)
I really like this dress


It's worth reading the blurb, because it means that I know there is a full length version

mrsbrown: (Default)
I wouldn't be surprised if I've posted about this before - I've been blogging since 2003 and everytime I back up my journal I notice that the same themes come up, time and again.

Anyway, today I have to feel guilty.  I'm not going to my place of paid employment today (I can't say I'm not working).  Either I was going to feel guilty because I was at work but not paying attention, or I get to feel guilty about not being there.  Failing the guilt is not an option.

I've come to this decision after spending yesterday aternoon finalising the shopping list.  I sat down for "an hour after lunch" and finished as the AC went off at 5pm (building management obviously don't know how to adjust the timeclock for daylight savings).  Then I started thinking that I was going to have to take this afternoon off to do some things, and then realised that I was going to be in late because of some other things I have to do this morning, AND I'm meeting Villana for lunch to collect the bulk purchasing card, and I realised I'd be better off to be up front with my colleagues about what to expect.  Oh well, they got three two and a half days of work out of me they weren't going to get last week.  And I'll have a better time this way.

Now I can spend the time I need to avoid feeling guilty about Baroness stuff I need to do. And the cooking thing of course.

It's funny. When I was an adolescent my mum complained that I never seemed to feel guilty.  I don't think that's true. I just hide my emotions and then get headaches, coldsores, tummy upsets, insomnia and earache.

Oh yes, look!  Reverse documentation for my outfit tomorrow!

mrsbrown: (Default)
We've just had our first cancellation due to the "travel to Victoria and quarantine for 7 days" restrictions

Here's a collection of government advice pages so I can keep an eye on this issue:

commonwealth page with links to the state pages

Generally, the requirement for quarantine applies only to children or people who work with children who hang out with 10 or more of them while in Melbourne.

I suspect that by the time of Midwinter most of this restriction will have been lifted.


May. 27th, 2009 08:49 pm
mrsbrown: (Default)
My post on sca_snark[profile] sca_snark is up to 115 comments! Most of them are incredibly negative, which isn't unexpected.

Particularly juicy comments include:

What are you doing letting your child read a snark community, for God's sake?
[profile] sca_snarkIt all comes down to CONTROL YOUR FUCKING KIDS!
It is called responsibility! Learn the term! Or don't have kids.
Wow. I
thought I smelled butthurt somewhere.
Major butthurt on Aisle 2... ::eyeroll::
Sometimes the witch needed burning.
Good god woman, are you thick?...move the fuck along to your next drama.
I really hope you are not teaching pigheadedness and the propensity to be a martyr to your children.
Expecting everyone in your vicinity to watch your kids 'because it takes a village' is a big piece of steaming, self-important crap.

And my favourite response, thankyou Celsa,
I bet you love the "Village" when your car is bogged to the axles, mate.

[profile] sca_snarkRiding to work today, stewing on this issue, it occured to me that if every parent responded to these stories with, "Sometimes, I'm a bad parent too", maybe we could effect a change in the expectations on parents, or just cut down on the vilification. At least it would give me something to say when I'm too angry to be sensible.
mrsbrown: (sca baby)
I think I've worked out some of what gets me so worked up about the latest round of "I'm a good parent and I always watch my kids, but I really hate people who let their kids roam free"

It's this.

Sometimes, I'm a "bad" parent. In my younger days, it's entirely likely that people described me that way more often than sometimes.

I know that mostly I'm a "good" parent but children don't let you hold onto that appellation 24/7. They wander off even while you're watching them. They get tired and hungry. They have an excess of energy that needs to be used up. Sometimes, you haven't yet worked out that they're up to a new stage of development and the thing you've been doing with them doesn't work anymore. Or you haven't spoken to an adult in too long and you sacrifice your child's bad behaviour for a moments peace. Sometimes they're the sort of child who is going through a stage of hitting other children, or throwing temper tantrums. And this is just the "normal" kids and their parents.

Parenting is hard work and people make mistakes.

And witch-hunting people for those mistakes sucks.
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