Quest for Italian Renn

One of my scavenged successes from Holiday Faire’s Silent Auction was a purple overdress. I fell in love with the color and figured it was worth the whopping 50 cents, despite being several sizes too small.

Whopee! The previous wearer had sewn the shoulder straps tighter. 3 sets of existing grommets per sleeve opened the armholes right up. They also fueled a thought: a little research and sewing machine love could yield a respectable Italian Renn.

I would need MUCH added length to avoid the medieval miniskirt look. I could close the bodice all the way at the expense of breathing and mobility so that needed to be addressed. But the shoulder grommets begged for detachable sleeves, and if I used the same fabric in the sleeves as the additional hem, the disparate elements would harmonize. I could also use that same fabric for a modesty panel, thus enabling breathing (a pastime of which I’m exceedingly fond.)

I also decided I would actually pursue a measure of authenticity with this one.

Thus I hit Google. Here are some sites I found useful and concise in the vast sea of costuming and reenacting information:

As I read around ideas flowed. During the Italian renaissance, sleeves became an expression of the wearer’s wealth and downright extravagance. My mind flowed to my findings drawer, and thoughts of trim and piping and pearls flowed freely. The findings will bring additional unity to the mix-n-match pieces of my franken-garb.

My garb closet is full of scavenged linens, muckabout garb, and a few modestly nice dressed. Now I’m looking forward to a hoity toity lady dress! Our shire’s Twelfth Night Party is close enough to provide a deadline and far enough out to keep things low pressure.

This is gonna be fun!

Holiday Faire

I bounded out of bed (silently, Wolf was still sleeping) rejoicing in energy for the first time in days. The flu was vanquished! I was invincible once again. And most importantly, we could travel to Atlantia’s Holiday Faire.

OK, ok. Once the initial exhuberance wore off, gravity started doing strange things once again and aliens exploded from my lungs. I told Wolf not to let me overdo it, and off we went.

Holiday Faire is held in the Barony of Stierbach. Atlantian denizens turnout by the score to celebrate the pre-holiday season, which means merchants galore! I sought ideas more than purchases, but we scored BIIIIG! The silent auction yielded priceless treasures for a pittance, and inspired a new quest–but more on that later.

We were not the only Sylvan folk venturing into our neighboring kingdom.


Bera and Katharine of Sylvan Glen

Bera and Katharine

Holiday Faire Stierbach SCA

Mark with Snaebjorn and Isabella

Bitter cold and biting winds made me linger inside too long to see Margarita fighting. By the time we braved the outdoor lists, she was gathering up her gear. Her flushed face and explosive smile told us she fought well and learned much.

Medieval Choir

The Choir

A choir gathered in the corner to perform.  Their heavenly harmonies swelled the cold, vaulted feast hall.  I wanted to save them on video, but the silent auction thundered towards the finish. I hovered like a vulture, vigilant against competitive bidders.  Video was out of the question!


Isabell and Catharine of Sylvan GLen SCA

Isabella and Katharine


We found a kindred spirit in a talkative blacksmith. As we tore ourselves away we exchanged contact info and found to our delight that he lives but a few towns away!

A good day, a quiet day. A good, low-key event to be enjoyed on flu medicine. And the booty we brought home! But that is another story….

Sylvan Glen Halloween Party

Kalli hosted our shire’s Halloween party this year.  As always with her fetes, food and fun flowed liberally. I enjoyed an added treat– my parents stopped in on a their way from Kentucky to Maine and joined us in the festivities.

We faced an unusual conundrum.   We wanted something simple and quick in the costume department.  Garb was a no-brainer, but is everyday attire among this crowd.  So we took the next path of least resistance– I dressed as a cowgirl and my love dressed as my horse!

See the full gallery at Laughing Gypsy Photography!

Viking and angel at SCA Shire of Sylvan Glen Halloween Party

Wild and Wonderful Hello!

Hey all, checking in from Wild, Wonderful (and windy) West Virginia. Thought I’d let you all know I’m still breathing, still riding, and yes indeed still having lots of fun playing with the ponies.

I doubt I’ve posted since the re-loaded wedding this summer,

we’ve been busy playing catchup on all the farm stuff we let sit while preparing for and escaping from the festivities this summer… and we’re still dragging our heels here and there on getting pictures up from said extravaganza.

That, and setting up for the sale or refinance of my house in Front Royal… if anyone wants to buy a house in an awesome riding area; send me a PM. It’s right about 5 miles from the BRP in FR and on the AT.

Been a strange year. I’ve ridden horses more than motorcycles this year, but had adventures on both. Been blessed to meet people and ride on some farms with trails and scenery that take your breath away, and had both horse and bike riding through Antietam battlefield.

About the only thing I can possibly think of to complain about… my commute is too short… although really, really fun… to ride to work. It takes longer to get suited up than it does to get to the office. 5 miles. 6 minutes including the trip down the driveway. But on the weekends, fun can be had in all points of the compass.

So, with running a farm and all, I’ve been pretty much lurking via iphone in downtime between feeding and fun,

Friesians and Fords,

horses and iron,

Belgians and Belg…

Our best to all,

Mark & Kirsten