Endewearde Baronial A&S Championship 2020


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This past weekend was the Canton of Basingestoches Feast of St Sylvester and Endewearde Baronial A&S Championships. For the first time ever I was not in the feast kitchen! This year I stepped back from cooking and tried event stewarding instead. I highly encourage everyone who is serious about the SCA to try this at least once with a small event, it truly isn’t difficult. I also had a great deputy who had run the event a couple times previously which really helped.

Stepping out of the kitchen role also allowed me to enter our Baronial A&S Championship. I already had a project ready from this last summer that just needed documentation. For the local war last July there was a largess challenge between the aggressors and I made a collection of hand-dyed silk threads to donate. Our Baroness at the time encouraged me to think about entering this project for the next Championship.

So I did.

I wrote out my documentation (click through to read), made sure that I had a solid bibliography, wrote to the rubric, and put together a visually pleasing display including materials and sources.

hand dyed silk display

Guess who the Baronial A&S Champion is now.

I wasn’t expecting that.


Herbs/Spices in Brewing from Antiquity to the 17th Century


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If you have ever read through a medieval recipe you probably recognized a few of the ingredients. You probably also looked at a few of them and thought, “What the heck IS that thing?” or “There’s no way that I can get a hold of THAT.” Did you look it up? I did. Thanks to cooking and brewing recipes I have developed an interest in the herbs, spices, and various other plants used in the Medieval era and surrounding time periods. A lot of these plants we remain familiar with today but for their ornamental rather than nutritional or medicinal properties. Some plants that were used extensively back then we now know to be toxic. Many we can still purchase online or grow ourselves, or we might find them growing already in our own yards.

A few months ago I was asked to put together a class for an upcoming Brewer’s Collegium on Herbs and spices. That is a rather large category. I narrowed it down to herbs and spices found in brewing recipes and their modern availability. That is still a very large category. Out of the sources that I used I found 260+ unique herbs or spices (not counting use of multiple plant parts, ie roots, leaves, flowers, seeds, etc). Quite a few of these wouldn’t be called either an herb or a spice nowadays so I suppose a better term would be “medicinal or flavor additive” if one wanted to be really technical. Additives for shorthand.

The sources that I found primarily dealt with additives in mead while brewing, wine after brewing, wine that was then distilled, and other alcohols (such as fortified wines, aqua vitae, and brandy). While I did find some sources for beer additives it wasn’t a large selection and I intend on updating my handout when I can find more sources. I think the most successful part of the class itself was the “scratch and sniff” session. I brought small containers of many of the herbs/spices/additives that my sources had for ingredients and passed them around the room for people to look at, open, and smell. Next time that I teach this class I’m hoping to bring some fresh plants as well but the time of year wasn’t right for that this time.

If you are interested in learning more please follow this link to my current class handout. I intend to continue to update this, starting with an organizational update, when I have time and new sources. If you are interested in all of the background data used to compile the handout I have uploaded it all to a dropbox folder with my handout and bibliography. The handout is seven pages long or I’d simply post it here.

And what about the modern availability? I have an entire section in my handout on what can be found modernly. I was rather surprised to find so much honestly. And even more can be found if you want to dedicate garden space to it. Monterey Bay Spice Company,  Mountain Rose Herbs, and Penn Herb Co. Ltd. are three large spice retailers where you can find a number of ingredients and I found a number of things on Etsy as well.

One last thing to keep in mind before you go off into the wilds of herb research:

Please ALWAYS research an unfamiliar plant before using and use with caution. Even familiar, everyday things can be toxic in large amounts, like almonds which contain trace amounts of cyanide. Some herbs are contraindicated with some medications and/or pregnancy such as Rue, St John’s wort, and Rosemary.


Feast of St Sylvester 2019


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On the 12th of January I cooked my fourth feast for my local canton’s event, the Feast of St Sylvester. This one though was extra special. The menu for this feast was almost two and a half years in the making. Back in the summer of 2016 I found a website that sparked this idea. This site contained the text of two Dutch manuscripts from the mid – late 15th century which had been translated from Middle Dutch, to Modern Dutch, and then into English by Christianne Muusers. They were 15th century Dutch recipe books (my SCA persona is 14th-15th century Dutch) and I couldn’t find more than a handful of the recipes that had been recreated and published online anywhere else.

The first manuscript, Wel ende edelike spijse, contains 62 recipes. The second, The convolute Gent KANTL 15, contains 92 recipes in the first volume and 150 in the second volume. A total of 304 recipes to choose from! Some had ingredients that were impossible or extremely difficult to get, some had unclear cooking instructions, and some were repetitive. There were three recipe variations just for wafers. Of the eleven recipes that I ended up choosing only three had recreations that I could find online: wafers, onions with cumin sauce, and the fried gouda.

My favorite dish was definitely the stewed quince although the stuffed apples come in a firm second. Everything seemed to go over really well and some of the dishes surprised me, like the onions of which hardly any came back to the kitchen during cleanup. If you would like to learn more about my menu and try some of the recipes yourself please take a look at my Netherlands Feast documentation.

I want to thank my kitchen staff and servers again as well. Many of them stepped in to volunteer when my mom ended up in the hospital the weekend before. Putting together so much food is a production and every willing hand helps to lighten the load for all.



Fall Crown Tournament Dayboard 2018

One month ago today I finally got to start relaxing after completing my very first dayboard at an event. It couldn’t just be any event though. Oh no, I had to agree to cook a dayboard for a Crown Tournament which usually attracts 350-400+ attendees. Before this I had only done feasts for 50-60 people so this was a huge step up for me.

Historical accuracy is something that I strive towards and although I knew that I’d have to make some compromises I wanted to work with historical recipes as much as possible. There are a couple of recipes that I ended up cutting from my original plan (such as tansy cakes) because I wasn’t satisfied with the historical information, or lack of, that I found. There are a couple that I did use (apple muse and apple tarts) that I came up with the idea and then stunt documented to something close to period.

My biggest challenge was simply making enough food for 400 people on an $800 budget. I definitely met that challenge and with food left over. The day’s weather, rainy and cold, forced the dayboard from the original, field-side location down to the building where court would later be held. This was good for being close to the kitchen and keeping the platters filled but it definitely caused me to have to bring more food home after than I’d wanted to. People were less likely to take multiple trips through and some didn’t even make one trip through due to the walk between the list building and the feast building in the rain.

It took me a month but I have written up my documentation and processes for the foods that were served in the dayboard. You can find them in this PDF file.

My next food project is a laid-back feast for less than 70 people. Whew!



Garb Challenge: Some additions, some progress


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As if my original plans weren’t ambitious enough would you believe that I decided to add more projects to my workload? If you said yes you probably know me pretty well. I have added a bycocket to my list of accessories and a new dress to my sewing list for Birka. Good news though, the bycocket is already done! Not long after I decided to make it I had purchased four 12″ x 18″ sheets of wool felt in two colors and started in on construction.

I got the general idea of shape from Honor Before Victory’s blog post 14th Century Embroidered Bycocket. I decided to use two colors of wool felt. Firstly because I wanted a contrasting lining, and secondly it would be much sturdier than a single layer. My color choices were fairly limited but there just happened to be two sheets of medium purple and two sheets of pumpkin orange left at the store. Purple and orange are my favorite colors, easy choice.


Here is my paper pattern with the cut felt pieces. I taped two sheets of paper together long-side by long-side, made a second sheet the same way, and drew out my desired shape. I then cut the shape out of both sheets, taped the curved edges together like a seam, folded the bottom up into a brim, and adjusted the curve of the top until I got the fit and shape that I wanted with the paper “hat”. The brim then got folded back down and there was my pattern piece!

The liner color (purple) I used a whip stitch for the seam, the outer color (orange) I used a blanket stitch. It really does not seem (haha) to make much of a visual difference. The whip stitch uses less thread but the blanket stitch is sturdier.

After seaming each layer I stitched the two seams together so that the layers wouldn’t shift around when the hat was being worn. The orange layer then got turned to the outside and the brim folded up. I used cotton embroidery floss to sew the brim edges together with a blanket stitch. If I hadn’t wanted to get the project done so soon and had a larger budget I would have bought some silk thread online instead.


Overall the bycocket took a total of perhaps 4 1/2 hours and I spent less than $2. I think I’ll be purchasing a brooch for the brim but that will still come in under $1o!

Birka 2017 Garb Challenge – Accessories


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It has been quite some time since my last entry. Summer got ridiculously busy and I hardly had time for making things nevermind writing about them. Eventually I will get around to writing posts about most of those things, I hope. Right now however it’s time for the next Queen’s Garb Challenge for A Market Day at Birka!

From Her Majesty, Queen Anna:

Unto my beloved populace of the East,

I have thought long and hard about the fashion show challenge for Birka this year. I have received many wonderful suggestions and it has been a very tough decision, but I keep coming back to something I teach all of my apprentices. “Anna’s Rule #1” is:

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize!

Accessories are what makes a piece of garb into an outfit and every time and place has its own accessories. Shoes, hats, jewelry, bags, belts – leather, pearls, floors, yarn – early period to Elizabethan and everything in between.

So pull out your needles, hammers, thread, beads, wire, metals, leather, whatever you wish to use and get ready to accessorize your favorite garb. Or make something completely new!

Anna Regina

At first I was like, what kind of a garb challenge is this? I admit to being slightly disappointed for a few minutes even. But then I started really thinking about it. I just bought leather to try my hand at making shoes. I need to make a better hood, of wool this time. I really should finally make a linen huva (St Birgitta’s coif). I’ve been wanting a more period belt purse and I still haven’t really finished my belt (a post coming up on that later). A proper 14th century lady should really have a paternoster too. And if I’m going to do shoes I might as well make hosen and garters to hold them up too.

Ok, so there’s more to this than I had first thought. In fact, that’s quite a list!

  • hood
  • huva/coif
  • turnshoes
  • hosen
  • garters
  • paternoster
  • belt purse
  • bling out the belt

The other question is, what outfit am I going to wear this with? I could definitely use my purple linen kirtle . . . but for an overdress? I have a short-sleeved, orange plaid with metal buttons. Or there’s my burgundy, Taymouth Hours hunting surcoat which is earlier 14th century than I want to aim for for the hood. I’d love to do a wool overdress but I don’t think I have the time.

Let the sewing commence!

I am gathering inspiration, tutorials, and ideas in my Pinterest gallery at Birka 2017 -Accessories

7-9th Century Saxon dress as Rapier Garb


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The best way to procrastinate on a project is to start another project! I have tons of other stuff to work on but two weeks ago  I decided that as well as finally working on my husband’s promised tunic I would also try to make a dress to wear over my rapier jacket. Then I decided that I’d flat fell all the seams in my dress. And add trim as well. I don’t procrastinate by halves.

But first I had to get all the pieces for both my husband’s tunic and my dress cut out of 61″ x 3 yards + a bit of the light weight wool blend that I had. Just don’t ask how many times I had to re-work bits and pieces . . .



I kept my promise to my husband and sewed his tunic first before starting on anything for myself. I did give him the option but he didn’t want flat felled seams (thank goodness). Only after finishing his did I start on mine. Both garments are early period, 7th – 9th-ish century Saxon (fashions didn’t really change very often back then), panel and gore construction. I used kite-shaped gussets and this was the first time I had not cut them into triangles to make sewing them in easier. This was also the first time I had flat-felled seams. Can you tell?


I didn’t have anything for trim until I realized that I could use my sewing machine’s embroidery designs over contrasting ribbon. Yes, it’s cheating. Unfortunately I had one day left to do the trim and I have figured out that my embroidery skills suck. More to the point, I have none. So I picked through my ribbon stash and did a sample with a couple different options. After some excellent advice I decided to go with the tan ribbon.

I got two thirds of the way through pinning it to the hem and ran out.

Emergency run to the store to find more ribbon!

Walmart, of course, did not have anything the same color. The closest thing they had was a slightly wider gold. I grabbed the last three rolls, not wanting to run out again, and headed back home.

I think I like this better than my first choice


Done just in time! The seam treatment definitely made it easier to pull on and off over my fencing jacket. I’ve known even before I started rapier that I wanted dresses for my fighting garb, now I have something to use over the modern jacket until I get the materials to sew a more persona-appropriate 14th century kirtle that will pass the requirements for rapier armor.

The above photos taken at the Barony of Endewearde’s event: Jehan’s Fencing and Fighting at the Fort. Photos taken and by and used with permission of Tan’ia Ozerovskaia, Mark Webber, and Mistress Brita Mairi Svensdottir.

I’ve already made a tunic in the same fabric for my son and I managed to find another three yards at Marden’s which is more than enough to make a dress for my daughter. Yeah, we’re going to be one of those families.

Stuffed Eggs – Netherlands, 16th Century


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Sometimes you are hungry and there’s nothing in the fridge to cook except eggs. There was nothing to put in an omlet, I’m tired of scrambled, and plain boiled just sounded boring on it’s own but perhaps as a base to something else … I know there are other egg options but those are the ones I know how to make. So what does one do when they are out of food ideas? To the cookbook!

Of course, this being me I grab my compilation of pre-1600 recipes first. Why be normal? I had three choices that were based on hard boiled eggs. The first was a stuffed egg recipe from 15th C Lombardy with cheese added to the stuffing, second was a 16th C Dutch recipe with apple, third was a 15th C Dutch recipe that was far more complex than I wanted to deal with and used ingredients I didn’t have. I’ve made the Lombardy eggs before so I decided to try out the Dutch recipe with apple. It can be found at Medieval Cookery.

12 Eggs
Pinch Saffron, ground
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp. Ginger, ground
1/4 tsp. Pepper, ground
1/4 tsp. Sage, finely chopped
1 tsp. Parsley, finely chopped
1 Apple, peeled and finely chopped

Boil eggs, allow to cool, peel and cut in half. Remove yolks and place in a bowl with spices, herbs and apple, mix well and stuff egg whites. Fry in pan with butter.

One change I made is that I used apple sauce instead of chopping a whole apple. It’s a good substitution if you are working on a time limit (an empty stomach counts as a time limit methinks) but I do think that a fresh apple, finely diced and warmed enough to soften it up, would definitely break up the smoother texture of the mashed egg yolk. An apple variety with more tart than sweet would be best. I think it also needed a bit more pepper and fresh parsley and sage instead of dried and ground. Unfortunately March in Maine is not a good time for fresh herbs. Despite those shortcomings they turned out pretty well, I even got compliments from a couple non-SCAdians. They should definitely be served warm, as close to just-out-of-the-pan as you can get, the texture of the pan-fried eggs  is rather odd after cooling.



Collecting Research: Belt for 14th-15th C Lady.


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I have decided that I really need a proper cloth belt for my 14th and 15th century garb. Here is where I will be putting my research links for this project.

http://www.larsdatter.com/belts.htm – Extant belts from 6th -17th centuries

  • Belt from the Colmar treasure, silver-gilt mounts (alternating between women’s heads and roses) on silk, first half of the 14th century
  • Belts from the 14th-15th centuries
  • CL17696, a fragment of a lady’s belt, Germany, 4th quarter of the 15th century
  • Lady’s belt, silk with silver and garnets, end of the 15th century

leather belt with mounts, 1350 1400, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

belt mounts, late medieval, 1350 1400, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Reproduction belt from Clunis Museum, France. Late 14 c.

Belt for a Lady’s Dress, c. 1375-1400

Girdle with Profiles of Half-Length Figures 1350-1400 Italy

Silver, with traces of gilding and enamel North Italian ca. 1330–50

First half of the 14th century (ca. 1300-1330), French – Champagne. Enthroned Virgin and Child. MMA.

15th century . Grey wool belt, with ivory fittings. Musée de Cluny – musée national du Moyen-Âge

Right now the fabrics I have are linen and small pieces of wool. My plan is to piece the wool bits together, use linen to line the back, and use mounts on the belt. Strategically placed to cover the lines where the wool is pieced together of course.


And for a different style of 15th century belt. I might do one of these later…

CARLO CRIVELLI (1435 – 1495) – Detail – Saint Mary Magdalen at the Cross.

schilderij Hugo vander Goes 1470

Passion (Greverade) Altarpiece (detail) 1491 Hans Memling

So you want an SCA name and device?


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“Welcome to the SCA! We’re so glad you could make it to our project night/demo/practice/event. I’m Lord Thomas de Marr’, or Peter Miller outside of the SCA. This is Jenn, also known as Lijsbet.”

That’s how many new people are introduced to regulars in the SCA and discover the magic of being able to choose a new name that is completely their own. Tell me you never regretted the name your parents chose for you at some point or other in your life or thought about what it would be like to have a different name. Say it with a straight face. Yeah, that’s what I thought. My local canton has had a sudden influx of new and potentially new members and a few of them have started playing with the idea of an SCA period name. Some have also expressed interest in creating a device because heck, yeah, heraldry!

Let’s finish the intro from above, shall we?

“She is our canton’s herald and can help you choose a name and device to use at events.”

Yep! That’s me!

So what is a device and what sorts of names can you use in the SCA? Well I could sit here and write it all out for you but how about I give you a few links to some much better-written guides instead of re-inventing the wheel? Some of the links below are to different pages on the same websites but I am giving specific links to make it easier on those who are new to this whole process.


What is an SCA name?

SCA College of Arms – Name Articles

The Medieval Names Archive at Academy of St Gabriel



Heraldry for Non-Heralds

SCA College of Arms – Armory Articles

The Medieval Heraldry Archive at Academy of St Gabriel

A list of Period European Rolls of Arms


Once you have some idea of what you want to use take it for a test run! Tape your device up where you can see it every day, try introducing yourself in the mirror with your new name. If you haven’t talked to your local herald yet find them and schedule some time. Eventually you may want to register your name and device so you should probably make sure there is no one else using it already and it is constructed in a period manner. And when you do decide eventually to register your local herald can help you with filling out the paperwork.

Whatever else you do, make sure you like what you use! It’s very difficult to get people to remember something new once they’ve been calling you one thing for months or years. And once you do get your name and device registered go out and put your device on All The Things. Your gear, your garb, make a banner, just have fun with it!