Sunday, 19 December 2010

Medieval Monday! - Annual Renaissance Faire Edition

I know it says "Medieval", but according to the *gentleman* walking behind me at the Faire the other week, he was at the Renaissance Faire, walking around with all of the Medieval people. So we're going to run with that. Eventually we'll run into a wall upon which we can bang our heads, but that's later. So, where have I, your dearly beloved blogger, been?

(I'm the adorable little one)
Well. When I was three, my parents took me to the PA Renaissance Faire. Awwww.

They had awesome stuff like costumes and jousting rides for wee ones!
Fast forward to this July:

And I knew that was silly, because I already did! ^_^
And here's how that went:

Me and Sam!

Cassie, Jess, Kat, Jordan, Lucie!

Merry Berry Holiday Potpourri!

The Big Boss Lady and her husband, Master Smokey!

The Wacky Jul, Jordan and Hilary!

The place where the Potpourri Magic happens!

Blue Mike! (In green...) Not to be confused with

Master Mike!

Me and Jordan!

Craziness over. I now have free time!


Saturday, 13 November 2010

Tea of the Day!

I did a bad thing. I bought, yes, more tea (review and photographs of the event to follow). Irishshammrocks pointed out that I have, "like, 20 different kinds of tea. I thought that number sounded a bit small. Leaving aside the odd collection of bagged tea I have jumbled together in a canister, I officially have in the vicinity of 47 teas! That's not including the ones that I just have a few random bags of (you know, the kind I steal from the continental breakfasts and whatnot), so let's round up to about 50 different kinds of tea! I should really get to reviewing them, what say? In the meantime, I was shown this little gem by some friends. I was apparently thought of.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Medieval Monday on Thursday: I Finally Saw Robin Hood!!!

A new theater opened up and spent their first week showing old movies for a $2 donation to cancer. And the most recent Robin Hood was one of them!! Here is what I took away from it:

All Robin Hood movies MUST feature the Bayeux Tapestry.


To: Engand
Re: King John


To: King John
Hate you.
Hate the French more.
Love, Your Not-So-Loyal-Subjects


Dear Hollywood,
Do you think that maybe, once upon a time in the future, I could possibly, maybe, you know, NOT die at the end of the movie?
Thanks, Mark Strong

P.S. If not, then you really need to arrange for A. Rickman and I to wear poufy shirts and be epically evil together for two and a half hours.


Seriously though, I thought the movie was brilliant. I really liked the reinterpretation of it. As Katie and I discussed, the heroes are always portrayed as some hot young couple. If Robin spent at least 10 years on crusade, which he always does, then he's at least going on 30, not 23. I thoroughly enjoyed the way the women were portrayed - as people who had to run the manor when the men were away at war (which they always were), not the frail embroiderers that people seem to think they were. Cate is gorgeous. The costuming was gorgeous. I can't wait for the next installment!

I was just thinking earlier about sitting in a tiny little crowded bookstore in the back end of a barn in Oxfordshire, sipping tea on a November evening. It was full of publishers' remainders and the libraries of retired medievalists. I would love to go back there and spend a few hours surrounded by history and debating which of it I most wanted to take home.

May I go back to England now, please?

Monday, 1 November 2010



Lucy Burns was jailed in 1917 because she asked for the right to vote.

In 1919 Eunice Dana Brannan, Doris Stevens, and Alison Turnbull Hopkins went to jail because they wanted their right to vote.

Vidia Milholland was imprisoned in 1917 over the right to vote.

So was Helen Hill Weed.

And Pauline Adams.

Alice Paul was tortured in prison
because she continued to protest by refusing to eat.

Dora Lewis was beaten unconscious.

In 1919 Lucy Gwynne Branham was arrested, jailed, released,
and wore her prison gown to future protests.

These women marched on Washington long before Stewart and Colbert did.

People were beaten in the streets
so that you could walk into that little curtained booth.

I don't care you you vote for. Just vote.

And the Winner Is....

Now that we've all recovered from the Halloween party (and extensive Trick-or-Treating!), we have (omg!) a WINNER in this year's Halloween Costume Contest!!!

Would Mr. Toad please come forward!

Because this year's attendees to my blog are AWESOME we had THREE TIMES the amount of votes as last year!! (That still only means 6, folks! Let's go for 10 next year!) So thank you SO MUCH to everyone who voted! Honorable mentions go to:

Mr. Darcy (sorry, Katie!)
The Cowgirls!
Jack Skellington
And our Waterskiing Witches get a vote two years in a row! (Maybe they'll try again for a spot on the podium next year!)(And hopefully the Frankensteins won't get quite so sloshed!)

I hope everyone had a Wonderful Halloween!

Monday, 25 October 2010


Well, due to the OVERWHELMING attendance at last year's Halloween bash (all two of you), we're trying it again! So welcome to the party! Prithee comment with your favorite costume!

We lead off with last year's Winner(s):

1) Two Cackling Witches, Flying Again!

2) The Dodge Sisters as That Good Ol' Ball and Chain!

3) The Mysterious Mister Darcy!
(Always lurking in the corners, avoiding contact with his fellow men)

4) The White Tree of Gondor!

5) The Queen of Spades!
(The Queen of Hearts had prior obligations. I always liked Spades better anyway.)

6) KITTY! (1910)

7) Jack Skellington!
(Taking a break from being the Pumpkin King to star as Abraham Lincoln!)

8) The Goddess Aphrodite, blown in from the sea in a clam shell...

9) Dear Mrs. Tinkman and her Dearly Departed Daughter...

10) Ride 'em Cowgirls!

11) Sally Rand as a Fanciful Feather Fan!

12) Mlle Whiard as the NEW Queen of the Starfish!

13) Joan Crawford as the Not-So-Wicked Witch!

14) Joan Blondell as Bozo the Clown!

15) Ruth St. Denis as a Peacock! *strut strut*

16) The Bride of Frankenstein (another one of last year's guests!) brought her husband!
(But all they've done is stand over the punch bowl and yell...)

17) Hedy Lamarr as a Star Struck Sky!

18) Murray Carrington (I'm so happy that more gentlemen showed up this year!) as Oberon

19) Ann Blyth as The Little Mermaid! (1948)

and finally:

20) Elsie Janis as Mr. Toad on his Wild Ride! Poo Poo!

Leave your votes below! Happy Haunting! ^_^

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Thursday, 7 October 2010

Tea of the Day!

Today's Tea of the Day comes to you directly from my Wicked Witch of the West mug (it being Halloween season and all)! It is:

Hibiscus Delight (Wellcat): 3.5/5

Hibiscus Delight is an herbal tea blend (meaning there is no actual Tea in it (meaning the leaves from the Tea plant), meaning there is no caffeine!) (I made this batch! Seriously.) It contains Hibiscus Flowers (one would hope), Rosehips (heaven forbid one is without the other), Lemongrass (out of witty comments), Orange Peel (you have all heard me go on about how annoyingly overpowering Hibiscus is, it was actually the combination of Hibiscus and Orange Peel that convinced me to try this one), Spearmint, Rose Petals, and a pinch of Stevia (the natural sweetener - in leaf form. ooooooooo.)

The label says: The red flowering tropical hibiscus plant gives this infusion (the technical term for the drink. Refer to its lack of actual 'tea') drink its unique taste and wonderful color. Delicious hot or cold with a slice of lemon. (It is too cold in my apartment tonight for the iced tea version. And I have no lemon. So we'll come back to that another day.)

The strongest smells are the Hibiscus and the Spearmint, though the Lemongrass adds to the sourness of the Hibiscus smell. It's quite pleasant. And the color is a nice rose, rather than the deep dark red of Hibiscus based berry teas. It is a rather good tea. It is sour, again due to the Hibiscus, but not overly poweringly Hibiscusy (yay!) due to the Spearmint! I cannot actually identify the Orange Peel at all. The Lemongrass is also very strong - tasting like lemon, and it goes very well to calm the Hibiscus, and the hint of Spearmint strongly ties it all together. Overall, an excellent tea on a cold day when you just don't want another apple/pumpkin/orange spiced beverage!

Extra: Herbal Teas
Tea is the drink made from the leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Drinks made from other plants, herbs, or flowers that are not tea; they are herbal infusions, or, as the French call them, tisanes. Their history is more ancient than tea's, and they can be healthful and refreshing. Tisanes are brewed from the leaves, roots, bark, seeds, and/or berries of herbs and spices such as borage, chamomile (given to Peter Rabbit after his episode with Mr. MacGregor), elderberry, ginger, lavender, lemon verbena, and mints of all kinds. They are often marketed in blends. Hardly any tisanes contain caffeine; yerba mate is an exception. Many herbs used to make tisanes are easily grown in a garden or on a windowsill, and easily brewed, fresh or dried, in boiling water.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Pride Goeth Before a Review

So I finally broke down and read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. After reading (read: sparknoting) Emma, I swore myself off of Jane Austen forEVER as dry and dull and pointless. Not quite George Eliot. But close. I was wrong. Very wrong.

Understand, I did by no means rush into P&P and love every line of it from beginning to end. In fact, I almost gave up several times, really just wondering why I was reading pages upon pages in which NOTHING HAPPENED. And there were so many more pages to go. (To be fair, I had an idea of what to expect, having seen the Bollywood take on it: Bride and Prejudice. Excellent and highly recommended!) But I trudged wearily onwards!

I do not remember where it happened - probably around the time Mr. Darcy started being awkwardly in love with Elizabeth - but I suddenly found that I could not wait to find out what happened. The thought of putting the book down was terrible! The last hundred pages positively flew by! Overall, I am extremely glad that I read the book! I might even move on to actually reading Charlotte Bronte next!

My favorite character was Mr. Bennett. He was so funny!

Anyway, for those who do not know, a brief plot synopsis:

Mrs. Bennett has five daughters, not the best household income, and high ambitions. She tries to set her eldest, Jane, up with the new rich boy in town. They happen to be of a mind, but his friend, the stuck up and snobbishly rich Mr. Darcy, who insults Jane's younger sister Elizabeth almost immediately, breaks up the match for various reasons. In the midst of all of this, Elizabeth is proposed to (she being the second sister and all believing that the first is being spoken for) by her cousin Mr. Collins, a parish priest and highly obnoxious. She declines, amidst his protests that she's really just being modest and coy. Her best friend finally ends up marrying him, and the two are happy together, unlike Jane and Elizabeth. Elizabeth, in the meantime, has met Mr. Wickham, a former companion of Mr. Darcy who we learn at his introduction has fallen beyond out of favor with Darcy. Several plot points later, Elizabeth declines Mr. Darcy's proposal, realizes she loves him, and Lydia, another sister, runs away with the dastardly wicked Wickham! What will the family do with this taint to their honor! Will Mr. Darcy save the day? (Obviously.)

I'm so happy I read this! Are her other novels as good?

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Golden Age of Fashion

So Jilly beansTALK is both a fashion blogger and loves working with textiles at the museum. She specifically loves loves loves 1930s fashion. This is the blog post I've been promising her for over a month!

I decided to go with all Hollywood stars, rather than Real People, as the focus here is more High Fashion than what everyday people wore. You will notice that everything is sinking: the bobs of the 1920s reach their halfway point before hitting shoulders in the 1940s (which is basically the same hair as the 30s, just longer), and the dresses have become slightly less outlandish (though shinier...?) and much longer. Slits may go all the way up, but hem lines have gone all the way down. Fashionwise, it's almost like the rebellious teenagers grew up and realized that they had to put away the midriff baring tops and put on a business suit- the clothes are much more recognizably formal and plain (decoration comes from accessories), with an emphasis on the lines of the body.

And now, without further ado:

The Blond Bombshell, Jean Harlowe in 1937. Classic white (as far as I can tell) No frills. No fuss. Just a rich satin dress and a lot of curves. Sadly, she died at the age of 26. But let's not dwell on the tragic, shall we?

Adele Astaire (Yes, THAT Astaire) in 1933, rocking the knitted look and some serious shiny!

Alice Faye in her little black dress in 1935, mid-transformation from black swan to human!

Some serious jealousy and clinging fabric and ruffles starring Alice White and Myrna Loy in their 1931 film The Naughty Flirt! I love Myrna's sleeves, but that bow MUST go.

The sophisticated Anna Mae Wong (the first Chinese movie star) in 1937. While I'm not terribly fond of the disco-ball of a jacket, I really don't think I'd like the dress by itself. So I approve of her wardrobe decisions. ^_^

Claire Trevor wearing a dress in 1937 that could pass (I think) on any red carpet (or at least a wedding) today. And some really interesting hair. She also appears to have picked up a mysteriously shiny jacket... I suspect an invasion.

Fred Astaire (Brother to the above) with Claire Luce in The Gay Divorcee in 1933. Simple. Streamlined. Room for dancing without showing any leg. Oddly fluffy sleeves. She's very pretty though.

The stunning Ginger Rogers in (what is possibly the worst photograph I have of her, but it suited my purposes the best) Shall We Dance in 1937. A fine example of fashionable outerwear. Again, very plain fabrics and with little decor. But the fabrics themselves speak of money and glittering diamonds, and the accents (the bow, the belt, the little cap with the veil) all scream Fashion!

The Vamp, Gloria Swanson, in 1932. A prime example of a beautiful woman who can not only hold a strenuous day job of acting, but can also hunt and skin a tiger without getting a drop on her white dress. The locked chain around her waist is open to interpretation.

1931. The Dietrich. Also known as Marlene. Lovely, fashionable, famous. All made possible by her amazing Gold Arms. (She was related to the original Oscar statue - the resemblance is all in the bow). I really wish this photograph was clearer so that we could better establish what exactly is growing out of her left shoulder. Whatever it is, I don't recommend it try to take on those cheekbones.

Norma Shearer in 1935. I've always found the resemblance between her and Marlene Dietrich confusing. At least Norma knows that Large Obnoxious Poufs of Fur compliment one's puffy hair much more than skintight shiny gold. I love the way her skirt gathers. I'm a bit concerned about that head in the background though...