A New Year, A New Blog

While I technically started this blog a year ago, I failed to post a single time. This year, my goal with this blog is to keep a better record of the projects I’m researching, actively working on, and finish up.

With the end of one year and beginning of the next, it is a cultural norm for us to reflect on the previous year and look forward into the next. This last year has been an interesting one both in personal life, research, and SCA goals. I was inspired by a friend early last year to try five new arts/sciences throughout the year. After a quick tally, I’m happy to say that I succeeded in that – and hope to continue on with trying new things this next year.

Five things this last year: aged cheese making, vinegar production, starch making, felting, and staining. I’ve really enjoyed the process of learning how to make aged cheese and won’t elaborate on it too much since there are many cheesy blog posts to come. Vinegar has been interesting to play with, and after a successful mild pasteurization process I have achieved a stable bottled form in which the mother does not continue to grow. The starch making was quite fun in an icky science experiment sort of way, I’ll be making up another batch of that soon and will post as I go. I’m lucky enough to have a Laurel who has had lots of experience felting, and taught me felting basics this summer. Needless to say, I’m really excited to start incorporating that skill into my hat making. A small thing, but a new thing nonetheless was developing a stain to use for a Kingdom Arts and Sciences competition. This wasn’t your typical stain used for finishing cabinetry projects; instead, it was the hide glue and pigment medium used by Tudor Stainers to paint patterns or scenes on canvas. These canvas wall hangings were once thought to be cartoons or practice drafts for woven tapestry hangings, but are now understood as displayed objects in their own right. Purchased by the rising middle and merchant classes these painted wall hangings allowed a much more affordable alternative to the cloth or tapestry wall hangings used by the elite. Since I have a good supply of hide glue that I previously made, I’m looking forward to experimenting with more staining in the future.

Looking ahead to this next year, I am hopeful of positive changes and good endings. Faced with some unhappy alternatives after a doctor’s visit and physical therapy this last spring, I’m finally taking a more hard core and permanent approach to fixing myself for chances of a better future. I’ve struggled with weight all my life, and this past year has seen yo-yoing of twenty pounds back and forth which simply isn’t going to work. If I can get the weight off and keep it off – over half my health problems should resolve themselves on their own. With the drastic numbers that I’m aiming for (50+), this year in terms of projects will be a year of finishing the unfinished and working through the stash of material and projects intended for others.

While resolutions tend to be considered cliché, I’m still making some. There are several in the paragraphs above, and some I won’t mention, but the most important one for me that I’m attempting is about attitude. Personality wise, I’ve finally come to grips that I’m an INFJ – that happens to be really good at shutting off the feeling aspect of the typology. Which isn’t always the greatest thing, but grew from defense mechanisms over a very long time. I won’t further bore you with that, but with this self-realization has come the desire, no, the need to be more positive. A more positive attitude to share with others, a more positive force for society, and a more positive force for myself. We are all battling our demons, and I’m sick of letting mine win.

On that note, the next post will most definitely be about something much happier – like 12th Night gifts or cheese!

Happy New Year!

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