hsifeng: (Default)
There are people who can take the everyday and make it extraordinary, all the while leading the way for others to follow the same example. They define an environment, an industry, a hobby. 

These people are amazing.

And then there is Kevin Brown. 

Kevin was an Disney Imagineer, he was the lead and muse of numerous ren faire guilds and acting troupes, he inspired hundreds (if not thousands) of fellow reenactors in *all* periods with his drive for excellence in every facet of our little 'game of life'.

Kevin passed away this past Monday, October 8th.

Often imitated, never replicated. And thankfully, with enough friends and followers to ensure that jewels of wisdom like the ones below have been preserved to be passed along to those who will never have the chance to know this amazing, happy, joy filled man.

Missing you already Kevin. But happy to spread your messages even if you aren't here to see it... 

Note From the Master - Kevin Brown, Part 1

Note From the Master - Kevin Brown, Part 2

Note From the Master - Kevin Brown, Part 3
hsifeng: (Sudlerin)

Invasion Stories:

1)   First of all, the weekend of Invasion was the weekend of driving hell. We started our traveling on Friday, heading from mid-CA up to Sacramento for a wedding rehearsal and dinner. Friday night saw us backtracking South about an hour to our overnight location, and then up until late, Late, *LATE* with the bride while hubby worked out final details for the ceremony (silly vows, why do you take so long?). Oh yeah, hubby was the minster at this shin-dig.

It’s amazing what $5 on the internet can get you (“Licenses to marry friends and relatives, oh my!”).

Then Saturday, the wedding. Wonderful event. Great friends (whom we love and adore seeing) in droves. Medium-weight organizational lifting on the part of hubby and me as we managed to take ‘Plan, What Plan?’ and force it to move forward on a timeline.

Mostly. ;)

Left the reception at 8:00ish and headed 2.5 hours South to home. Got in and attempted to sleep. Attempted being the operative word. Three hours or so later, we were on the road to LA for Southern faire.

OMG. There is a reason I haven’t done this sort of Mulit-Eventing Crap since I was in my early 20’s.

Screw it. It was SO worth it…

2)  Hubby and I showed up and after the normal amount of “No, You Have To Go Stand In This Line; THEN In That Line; THEN Go Through The Magic Gate” we stepped foot in the ‘hallowed grounds’ of Southern Renaissance Faire for the first time in nearly 10 year.

Despite a 10 years absence, quickly discovered that our friends were still ale-stand managers.

Free beer = THE BEST BEER! (Especially when it’s Bass and Guinness in ice cold pewter mugs).

3)  Upon arriving in camp we were swamped with familiar faces, hugs, kisses, offers of ‘Oh No Officer, That Is Certainly Not Off-Site Beer!’ for our mugs, food, stories, screams of laughter, feathers, leather, wool, slash-n-puff, old friends, new friends, HOLY FUCK THIS IS OUR FAMILY!, etc.

I have determined, as a result, that Heaven (if it exists) is one long, warm afternoon spent lazing in the shade with a cold brew, a pile of Landsknects/Frau, and Jessica telling one story after another with THIS look on her face…

Oh  Oh yeah…and a little of THIS thrown in on occasion…

And just to screw with the local English populations. Let’s take over the parade…

6)   4) Group photos almost killed me. The first one just sort of spontaneously exploded on the ‘front porch’ of the camp after the guys assembled for muster. The second happened after the Queen had been deposited on her stage after progress.


Fuck. Yes. We. Are. Pretty. )

In conclusion, someday I want to grow up to be as BAD ASS as Shannon…

As Pretty As Jess...

And as Loved as Reba (I am so sorry you didn't make it out for this one honey, it would have been a hell of a send-off. RIP. *cries*)

hsifeng: (Landsknecht)

What do you call it when 135+ of your closest reenacting friends decide to get together and mob Southern Renaissance Faire for a day?

German Invasion of course!

Pictures! (*Because not only did it happen...but it was AWESOME!)

Seriously though. This event may become an annual thing. And since this year is the 50th Anniversary of Renaissance Faire (thank YOU Pattersons!) we may be having another one of these the last weekend of September at the Casa de Fruta Renaissance Festival (the event that 'took over' up in Northern California when the *original* Northern Faire passed into the great beyond). 
hsifeng: (Landsknecht)

So awhile back I was harassing a Landsknecht friend of mine about his uncovered head. After bearing up under the torment for a bit, he pointed out that if I didn't like him walking around without a hat on I was perfectly capable of making him a hat to fix the situation.

Well crap...

So, after some discussion and some woodcut viewings he decided upon a Tellerbarret (a 'pizza hat' to those of you not well versed in the terms of the period). One can only assume he wanted to have a wide brim to hide his precious, fair-skinned face from the sun. *chortle* 

So I got to work, using these instructions which I posted YEARS ago to the das Heiligesturm Fahnlein BBS board after having been shown how to produce this version by a friend down south. 

Of course, the last time I made one of these up it was in linen. And let me tell you - making it out of wool was a VERY different experience. 

Cut for those who need their bandwidth for more important things... )

This project took me longer than I thought it would, but I am totally pleased with the results. I am not so sure that this is a 'cheat' really - I mean, it's a wire rimmed brim but it is totally possible that they used wire this way in the period. 

While I would be cautious to take on another one of these in wool (and would probably use a lighter weight wool than the remnant of  medium-coat-weight wool/cashmere that we used here) I actually prefer the final result in this fabric to the earlier linen model I made. It is no where near as floppy and I suspect that it will hold up better in the long run. 

hsifeng: (Creative Sewing)
As you may remember, I had decided awhile back to tackle a project to recreate false braids ala the 16th C in Germany. These items, known as 'Zopfe' in Nürnberg, were frequent items in the dress indices of the period of study covered by Jutta Zander-Seidel's research in the "Textiler Hausrat".

I actually started with an attempt at a reconstruction back in 2010, only to put it aside in favor of other projects. I got as far as making and stuffing a number of mock-up 'tubes' for the basic braid forms, but no farther. Then, this past June I decided to resurrect the project as something to work on while I was at an event for my birthday. I grabbed the stuffed forms (muslin sausages with synthetic batting for fill - hey! - they were mock ups!) and some left over silk from flag making and got to work. 

The resulting items would NOT work in my hair (which is thin and was only just past my shoulders at the time). But they did OK in a friends much more copious locks:

[livejournal.com profile] vanagnessayem That is my version of your hat I am wearing there...

So, the size was bad. Going back to the 'Textiler Hausrat' image of the gentleman holding what Mrs. Zander-Seidel believes to be Zopfe, it was clear that my scale was *way* off. So I started over. 

Here Be Pictures... )

Honestly, I couldn't be happier with the results! I now have some amazing (and period!) Punk Rock hair accessories to have fun with for feasts. I look forward to finding reasons and opportunities to wear them in 2012! ;)

hsifeng: (Just You WAIT!)
...and that I can appreciate other people's children while not wanting any of my own...


Yes, I have been bad about posting for the past few months ; mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!
It wasn’t you LJ, it was me.
Sure, I’ve been sewing and gardening and reading and generally Being Alive and all those things that I used to write you about.
But I just haven’t been writing.
I don’t know why. But I promise to try and change my ways. *crosses heart*
So – in an attempt to play some catch up, here are some items I plan on posting about when I can manage to get the associated photos corralled:
1)      Making a German Tellerbarret (Pizza Hat): The Non-Period Way!
2)      Roadkill Showgirl or, ‘How I Learned To Relax And Let My Headwear Drive’
4)      The Holidays – Reasons To Buy And Wear Zombie Accessories
Here’s a preview of #2 – just so you know I am serious…

hsifeng: (Sudlerin)
What do you do when you don't have your Moose Hat yet?

You improvise...

Temporary Moose Hunting Badge ("Totally Legal!")

"Honey...Steve is not a Moose!"

We did some of this...

And a lot of this...

And enjoyed time with old friends,

And new!

Let's do it again - SOON!

hsifeng: (Blackpowder Love)
Look at these young ruffians; who the hell let them get armed and organized?

*shakes head in disbelief*

The Early Days of das Schwarz Faehnlein; Blackpoint Faire, Navato, CA

Left to Right: Conn MacLir, Tony Swatton, Tom Moon, Chris Cook, David Forrest, Martin Young, Scott Moore, Jeff Schroeter,Carl Ontis, Don Smith

I believe this was from the Old Camp, out in front of the gates to the Faire itself.

A merrier, swankier and more vicious group of scalliwags and crooks, harlots and bastards was never seen to walk the earth. I have the very great honor of knowing many of them.


Original Image here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=64833929152&set=p.64833929152&type=1&theater
hsifeng: (Landsknecht)
 As you may recall from this post waaaay back in January of 2009, I have an interest in knowing just how this crazy German Landsknecht Thing got started out at events in the United States. The subject of a Family Tree Project came back around recently via some postings in the Old Guard hanging around on FB, and one of the most involved of these 'Old Guard' members was kind enough to have a chat with me about his recollections of the early days of Germans on the West Coast. This is a work in progress - if you have any information to help fill in the blanks (literally!) please let me know! Also, if you'd like to be 'interviewed' for this project, or have interviewees you think should be contacted, I would love to hear from you. 
[livejournal.com profile] anjabeth and Scotty Moore, please shoot me a message with anything you think needs to be added in postscript - or if you'd like to participate! ;)


Via Conn MacLir: As with most of us, Conn started out as ‘something other than a German reenactor’. First a Celt, then bodyguard for the nobles, then a southern Queen's Guard, then a Seadog; he had put time in with a number of groups and characters.

Conn MacLir & Tim Finkas portray Sea Dogs at Agoura Faire, Southern California

After being influenced early in the development of the California Landsknecht phenomenon by Carl and Elizabeth Ontis of das Schwarz Faehnlein; Conn MacLir, Tim Finkas, and Erin Harvey first promoted the style as a guild at the Southern California Renaissance Faire at Agoura starting in 1985 under the name St. Barbara's Guild (Landsknecht Trabanten). For a time J.F.Schreoder was a booth owner who also dressed Landsknecht with this initial SoCal group.

The next year this core of individuals moved in their own directions with Conn starting his own group, the die Ritterlich Fechtschule\ Fahnlein and Tim starting St. Martin's (German Reiters). Die Ritterlich was focused on historical swordplay, portraying the "Marx Brudder" of Germany in the early 16th century. Having come from Queen’s Guard Conn crafted the Germans of his group to that end…to protect the Queen. This is a common theme for many German groups at Renaissance Faire to this day, as is the tradition of Germans being employed as part of the Security for events.

Conn MacLir as Hauptman Sigrfied Von Bodensee of Die Ritterlich Fechtschule, Agoura Faire, Southern California

For a period of three or more years, Conn campaigned all over the west coast; going to every faire he could “like Johnny Appleseed”. This constant interaction with new groups and new people helped to foster the growth of the West Coast Landsknecht phenomenon at faire events. This growth continued to spread outward. Don Smith and Blair Reese – both having had their start in Landsknecht reenactment under Conn’s tutelage in die Ritterlich Fechtschule\ Fahnlein - were sent to the Texas Ren Faire where they were contact by management of the Renaissance Entertainment Corporation (REC) which was running the event. They in turn put these promoters in contact with Conn, who was asked to go to the Bristol Faire in 92 or 93 in order to start a German group at that event. (Group name?) Paula and Larry Perterka - also Ritterlich alumni - ventured to Maryland the East coast to begin das TeufelsAlpdrücken Fähnlein.

Conn’s time with Carl and Elizabeth Ontis in the early years gave him access to some of the best equipment and training to be had (even today); Firearms by Dale Shin, Fight manuals by Nicholas Worthington, costuming by Elizabeth Ontis, Adrian Butterfield and Victoria Ridenour. This early immersion in a high-quality environment drove him to seek the very best in his own groups, and to inspire the best from others .

Conn drumming with das Schwarz Faehnlein at Blackpoint Faire, Navato, Northern California

Conn in formation with das Schwarz Faehnlein at Blackpoint Faire, Navato, Northern California

hsifeng: (Sudlerin)

So, this past weekend was my birthday weekend: I am now a brand spanking new 37 year old!

*does a little cheer and dances around in her undies*

Wait, what?

37 years isn’t a milestone that we normally celebrate?

Why not? I mean really, why not? It seems to me that every year reveals to us new truths about ourselves, awareness that we get to use as we move forward in our lives, knowledge that help us better see who we are. Personally, I wouldn’t go back to any prior year to claim that age instead of this one. I have 37 years if hard-won knowledge under my belt and I am happy to claim it.

But that isn’t what this post is really about. This post is really about drinking, and costumes, and a weekend spent in one of the most beautiful places on earth with a man who is suited to me better than anyone else on earth. )
hsifeng: (Sudlerin)
I am such a geek. I made switchel for this coming weekend of Casa.

Because Gatorade? Way too modern for me

*eye roll*

Beside, I know a couple of Boarder Reavers who will adore me for bringing it along. And perhaps even ply me with beer in return…

hsifeng: (Creative)
Hey all,

[livejournal.com profile] claughter713 has started a new blog that specifically deals with historical beauty products that are currently available on the market. I set up the following syndicated account on LJ for folks who might be interested in 'watching' along:


We are looking forward to 'testing' a number of products from Ageless Artifice at the upcoming Summer Siege event (bathhouse themed, you know you wanna go!). Stay tuned!
hsifeng: (Sudlerin)

Adventures in camp cooking are always fun, and sometimes pretty tasty to boot! This past weekend at the North Fork Siege was no exception; bacon/fried bread/Irish cheddar breakfast sandwiches with fresh fruit for breakfasts, bear sausage and root vegetable broth on Friday night, spit roasted mustard and honey coated pork loin and beef with shallots and garlic in red wine on Saturday night, chickpeas with smoked pork necks on Sunday. *YUM!*

And then there was the challenge of the waffle iron.

Every time I bring this item out to an event, I forget one CRITICAL rule: GREASE FIRST, GREASE LAST, GREASE ALWAYS!

*grin* By this I mean, the wafre recipe that I like to use has little in it to keep it from sticking to the wafre maker (even when said maker is pre-seasoned). This lesson leads to much cursing and hot iron cleaning before the follow-up waffles can be made. It is an annoying process, and one I hope to circumvent in future by REMEMBERING to grease the darn wafre iron between each waffle.

Not low fat, but at lot easier to get the waffle out of…*chuckle*

Because they say a picture is worth 1,000 words… )

Delicious! Especially along with the honey that [livejournal.com profile] claughter713 brought!

Thank you again to everyone who came out to the event - it was terrific and I am looking forward to the next one!

hsifeng: (Sudlerin)

Many thanks to[info]femkederoas for this link: And here I was just thinking of building bread ovens!

Nice documentation of their process, both building and baking. This seems like a project that we could get done in a weekend up at North Fork if we wanted to. Now to find a 'permanent site' for future Sieges...

EDIT: Hell, I am just going to link to her journal where she put up a bunch more cool links and picces for little-ol'-me!

hsifeng: (Landsknecht)

Like 16th C German military reenactment?


Like geeking out with people all over the world who love it too?


Wanna have another way to while away the hours between sleep and death? *grin*


Then follow the muster drum!*


Photos galore, discussions of events world-wide, resources, vendors, comrades-in-arms: I’m “Briggita”, see you on the forums!

* Seriously, this website is buzzing with activity like you can’t believe…

hsifeng: (Blackpowder Love)

We’re slowly by surely getting our gear together for the upcoming School of the Renaissance Solder (April 17th – 19th at Camp Tamarancho). Since the powderflasks are here and are ready to get finished, I need to start formulating my plan for their cording. I am gathering a few images together from the various sources I have found to try and get an idea of what cording style I should use.

Cut for those who have no interest in pictures of rope….*grin* )

I can fingerloop, lucet and card-weave: However, I am not sure that the cords in the images above were produced with any of these methods – at least I have never managed to make a cord of that size, using thread/yarn elements that small. The cords made via Kumihimo seem to look more like the ones in the images, but what technique did Europeans use at this point in time that produced a cord of such thickness? 

My initial thought is that I should card-weave a band about 1” – 1.5”, I could then stitch it into a cord (either around a core of an alternate material or not). This would leave me plenty of ‘tail strands’ to make the various fringe and tassel hangers that the images show. Then again, almost any cord weaving technique using multiple strands will do the same. 


Anyone out there have any suggested techniques?

Of course, once I am done with this cording I will be starting on cording for the cartridges...
hsifeng: (www.crackafuckingbook.com)

Every once in awhile, I see a photo from a reenactment group that just makes me *weep* in joy.

I know, I am a freak.


This is one of those photos. I could spend hours going over the details and love doing a little "where's Waldo" on the items included in the image. For example, can you spot the 16th C peppermill? I can. I think I can even tell you who made it....

hsifeng: (Work)

Over the years, I have heard a number of creation stories for the originals of that mysterious creature, the US Landsknecht. As I started reenacting 16th C German in the Ren Faire scene, and in California, I have the specific idea that this group of young scallywags are to blame for all things “Germanified”, at least on the West Coast.



This photo was taken at  RPFN (Old Northern CA Ren Faire, in Novato) in 1979. Apparently before there were "German Guilds". It features Dave Godwin, Salvatore Bruno, Carl Ontis, and Gordon Frye.


So my question is this, to those abroad or in other parts of the USA; to those in the SCA or other reenactment communities: Are they the first?


I am seeking the roots of our little sub-culture. I am constantly amazed at both the things that the original founders got *so* right, and the things they helped instate as “fact” that have later been proven to be “fiction”.


Tell me what you know.

hsifeng: (Blackpowder Love)

The hubby and I are currently waiting on two guns from master gunsmith, Dale Shinn. For those who aren’t familiar with Dale: This is a man who makes everything on his guns, down to the springs. He does not make his own barrels, because he has them professionally cast for safety reasons. Dale’s guns look like they were just picked up out of a museum case – and some of his pieces are actually *in* museum cases.
*doing a little dance of glee at the thought of owning one*


Needless to say, there is a waiting list (I actually got on that list before my husband and I got together), but we are slowly approaching our project completion date at last! With any luck, Dale won't get in any more car accidents between now and then! *knocks on wood*


The pieces we are getting are as follows:


1)      2 sets of brass cartridges (10 each)

2)      2 “doughnut” German powder flasks (each with it's own set of decorations)

3)      1 brass-barreled octagonal-to-round button lock

4)      1 steel-barreled matchlock with 'brass knuckles' sear guard


The cartridges are one-of-a-kind pieces, based on both safety and Dale’s knowledge of the period. They are *not* the standard ECW wooden cartridges (also called apostles by some). We don’t do ECW, we do 16th C; early 16th C.




A lot of folks doing early period still get the ECW cartridges because a) there is nothing out there on the market that is closer to period, b) the ECW cartridges work and have been field tested extensively, c) they are safe, d) they are easy to keep track of and e) they are conveniently tied together to keep them from loosing pieces.


Now to be honest, the cartridges we are getting are a ‘hybrid’ rather than a “straight out of the woodcut” reproduction of German black-powder storage vessels. 


The caps will not be attached *directly* to the bandoleer in the manner that the 16th C versions seem to - for both safety considerations, and because the later period ‘stringers’ help you to keep track of empty vs. full cartridges and prevent loss of caps/bases. They also have a bit of a 'flare' to their bases. I am not honestly sure where Dale got this from, but I like it and I trust his research (he's been doing guns for about 40 years after all...).


Right now, the cartridges are the only piece of the order we have in hand. We are hoping to see the leather smiths who will be helping us out with the bandoleer/patch pouch production this weekend.

That being the case, I want to organize some thoughts on these leather bits of our kit.


Namely, hubby is insistent that we have to have patch pouches, and I can’t find evidence of them in any images of gunners from the 16th C.!


Here is what I have found that *may* be a patch pouch…



Lower right hand corner, under the powder horn; I can’t tell what it is attached to, or how the horn is attached to it. But that is the *first* pouch I have seen in relation to any black-powder item from the period.


So, my current plan is to get a thin leather bandoleer strap made, with a small pouch like this one at the joint in the strap/over my hip. My ‘doughnut’ powder flask can be tied to the same point, and I’ll end up with something similar to the arrangement in the Bildindex image.


Then again, if anyone has any *other* images of leather black-powder gear from this period that they would like to share that may change my mind…feel free!

On another note, hubby had indicated that at least a couple of the cartridges from the 10 cartridge sets should be hung on the 'back side' of the bandoleer. However, I am not sure I have seen this in 16th C German images. I know that there was a detail shot of a large color painting that showed the back of some

Harquebusiers...anyone know where that is?

From the ECW era:

Of course, the casual shooting scenes I have don't show ANY kit except the guns...*le sigh*


hsifeng: (Default)

June 2015

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