May 01, 2008

Happy Birthday to Us!!!


Hello, Challenge Community!!! (cross-posted from our Yahoo site)

Today is our Birthday, and I hope we each have a good one! :)

Challengers officially signed up in our Database will hopefully be
receiving Birthday Cards between now and next Monday night, and I
hope you all enjoy writing them and sharing the joy!

I would like to take a moment while I may to thank those folks on
this [yahoo group] list who have *no intention* of officially becoming Challengers
themselves. You are the observers, the promoters of A&S, the good
gentles who are here to act simply as resources and sounding boards
for our many and diverse projects. You may not be Challengers, but
you are most certainly valued members of our Challenge Community, and
we thank you for being here! :)

As of today, we have 158 members of this Yahoo group Challenge
Community, and 90 people officially signed up for the Challenge in
the database! We also have a *bunch* of local and regional
listserves going, seven Kingdoms have Coordinators, and we have held
meetings at Pennsic, Estrella, and Gulf Wars, as well as at Rowany
Festival in Lochac. Challengers come from 17 out of 19 Kingdoms, and
two sitting members of the Royalty are members of our Community.

The fact that all of this growth has occured in just the one year
since I had a little idea, and wrote about it in a few places,
honestly boggles my mind. I'm so glad we have all found one another!

My present to the Community is a newly updated website (which will be
able to be found at as soon as it spreads
through each internet cache, or whatever they're called), with an
expanded FAQ, and a list of Coordinator contacts and local/regional
listserves. I was hoping to complete an annotated webography of
resources on how to do good documentatation, but it just hasn't
happened yet, sorry. I DID archive and remove all of the technically
awkward forums there though (I'll post them in the files section
here, once I've tidied them up a bit), and I discovered that there
were *quite* a few folks on there who have not yet joined us [on the yahoo site], so
I guess I have tracking them all down as another project to add to my
to-do list!

Anyway, my hopes for us for our second year together include Kingdom
Coordinators for each Kingdom, visible representation for us at each
Inter-Kingdom War, and official Challengers hailing from every
Kingdom. Compared to what we've already accomplished, I feel like
these are more like predictions, than wishes! :)

*I* think we are doing a great job by our motto - "to learn and share
of our learning, to create and share of our creation." When I look
at the posts on [our yahoo] list, I see folks experimenting and discovering,
helping others find sources, both within our Community and beyond,
and I hear reports (and see pictures!) of works in progress, and of
them being exhibitted and entered, and even offered to others. What
more COULD we be doing to share our philosophy with the Knowne
World? (Actually, that's a pretty good question, and I invite your

My BIGGEST wish for all of us is simple though - that we all keep on
having **FUN**!!!

Happy Birthday to Us, and ENJOY!

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February 24, 2008

Sewing project


I want to start looking better for when I am representing the Challenge at events, so I've finally got together everything I need (linen, linen thread, documentation of pattern, stitches and seams) to get cracking on my most period dress to date. Nothing fancy, just a linen under-tunic with 6 gores and armpit gussets, but I am really excited about it! I've done most of the cutting, and am going to embark on the neckline today; wish me luck!

Also,the A&S 50 growth spurt continues: we now have four Kingdom Coordinators, for Northshield, Aethelmearc, Ansteorra, and Lochac; and our fliers seem to have been a big success at Estrella (our yahoo group has grown 50% just this week!)

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February 03, 2008

Growth Spurt!


No, I haven't posted since before the holidays. Mea Culpa.

That does NOT however, mean that a) I haven't been busy, or that b) things haven't been happening!

We have a new brochure, which will be distributed at Estrella, possible new Coordinators for several Kingdoms, and, perhaps, someone to run a Session at Gulf Wars!

Folks are joining the listserve every day, and volunteers are actually stepping up to spread the word about the Challenge. I'm VERY excited that others find this a project worth not only putting their own energy into, but their own faces and names and time as well. Happy Dance!

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November 27, 2007

Surreality and progress


A dear old friend of my husband's is getting married this weekend in Atlantia (best wishes, Bronzey!), and my husband called to have a nice chat with her and tell her that he couldn't make it. He asked her if she had heard of A&S 50, and she proceeded to describe the project to him in fair detail. Then he told her it was my baby. Too weird.

I have far too much to do this month already, but I thought I should at least write down my to-do list for A&S 50 for 2008:
* establish, once and for all, if the database is editable by users, and find an alternative if it is not (the first half I can probably do now, but the second? Yeah, right.)

* write to the Kingdom MoASes, officially letting them know about the project, and what interested folks should do. Include press releases if folks want to use them in newsletters. (frighteningly, I've had about a half dozen requests!)

* get my stacks of email/paper contact info data uploaded onto the database

* post the files on persona creation, teaching, and documention guidelines to the website (since these seem to be among the few categories of info not already compiled elsewhere on the web).

* personally, work with some new resources I've just got on my persona development (Victoria County Histories ROCK!)

* also personally, pull SOMETHING together to enter into Northern Lights on March 1, while simultaneously putting together the second issue of our new regional newsletter for the same day.

This month though? Getting over the cold I picked up over T-day, finishing issue #1 of the newsletter (Peaks' Progress), finishing a quilt a dear friend asked me to finish for her just before she died so I can give it to her family for Christmas, and, of course, the regular hassles that come with December. Eight years sounds like a really long time, until I see just how much A&S stuff I have NOT gotten accomplished in the almost seven months to date. :\

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November 12, 2007



Enough folks have asked for the 'how do I run a Session' info that I have put it, and the corresponding Level Number System and Contact Info sheets, in the files section of the Yahoogroups.

I'm going to do my mass database updates (all the paper Contact Info forms I have), and the MOAS letters (to Kingdoms first, then EK MOASes) in January, and with other folks starting to run Sessions, we're just going to keep on growing!

Plans to change out the website are on indefinate hold, since the database on Yahoogroups works great, as does their file system. That said, anyone who wants to help me collect and organize handouts for the website itself is heartily invited to let me know! The one thing we do NOT have between the two systems is a facile threaded forum. Our web guru, Alexandr, has one on our proto-Joomla site, so there IS still motivation to make that happen at some point, but I'm feeling WAY less crunch about it now; unless we get someone on the project who WANTS to do the website (rather than Alexandr who is willing to help me do it), it will probably sit there until either a) our numbers/needs grow big enough that I have a pool of folks to beg for help, or b) we hit the 5 year mark, and my plans for online galleries demand it (if Yahoogroups doesn't have even better functionality by then though, I'll eat my coif!)

And, last but not least, can I just say how darned right spiffy it is read someones blog and see them mention that they are doing this cool thing they are really excited about, and how they are doing it for their A&S 50 Challenge??
Happy Albreda! :D

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October 24, 2007



I helped run Mimir's Well this last weekend, and it went really well, for a first time. One of my duties was to recruit teachers, and I begged and pleaded well enough that **4** Scribal Arts teachers came from Aethelmearc to share their wisdom with us, and one of them taught GILDING!!!!

Long-time readers may know that trying gilding with real gold has been one of my Challenge goals from the very beginning, and now I have done it! The real loose leaf wasn't all that different from using the fake loose leaf stuff, but the patent gold is on a paper backing which is just WAY easier to work with, although thinner, so you need to put more layers. Gee shucks. ;) (I loved that part!)

The part that I thought was the absolute NEATEST was trying different period sizes or glues, to get the first layer of gold to stick to the paper/vellum/etc - I tried period gesso, fish glue and garlic juice glue (which stank the most). It was AWESOME, and THL Mea the Bold of Aethelmearc, actually included recipes for all of them in her little booklet that she gave us! She even sent us home with our gold scraps to make shell gold with (mix real gold scraps with gum arabic)!

I learned a bucket, and can tick off another big item off my Challenge wishlist. Hurray!!!! No one came to the A&S 50 meeting, but I had so much to do, I was ok with it. Folks know where to find me anyway...

I also put embroidery, spinning, my first lampworking, and a whole bunch of illumination doodles in the exhibition (which I ran, and which went great!)

Now we're gearing up for next year, and the same teacher says she'll come back and teach how to make both period pigments and period gesso! (She even gifted our local scribes, in the form of me, with a box full of vials of period pigments! OOOOOHHH!!! I can't WAIT to try those out with the crew!!!! Mea - you ROCK!!!)

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October 15, 2007

Database Bliss!


Ok, so it isn't on the website, but we actually now have a searchable database for our Contact Info! Hurray! It is on the Yahoogroup site, and is working well. :)

I'm really excited about this, since a) it has been a real thorn in my side, and b) I feel that this is really the heart of the infrastructure that I can provide folks - the ability to discover and forge relationships with others who share their passions and who want to share their interests with others, across the shire, or across the Knowne World. Joy!

The new website may be, well, the old website, but just with more stuff. With the yahoogroup handling both the threaded forum and the database, I'm just not feeling the need to keep pulling my hair out over Joomla. I'm hoping we'll get a flashier site eventually, but the rush is OFF! Hurray!

And good timing, too. My husband, Owyn, had hernia surgery last week, and I'm helping to run our fist shire A&S and War College (Mimir's Well, see for details) this weekend, including doing all of the scheduling, a solid majority of the recruiting (indluding 4 OOK C&I teachers!), I'm running both the exhibition and the youth program, AND I'm running an A&S 50 session, natch! ;)

(I REALLY want to go to the gilding class I begged for someone to come teach, but probably won't get to.... ::pout::)

Not having the lack of a workable database hanging over my head is going to make for a MUCH nicer holiday season. I might even make some art! :P

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