Archive for October, 2015

A couple weeks ago my husband and I enjoyed one of our weeklong camping events. Okay, maybe “enjoyed” is too strong a word. It was one of those mixed emotions things: enjoyed being with friends I hadn’t seen in a while; liked playing with string and talking to customers; terrified over how the new feline overlord (who we had to take with us for a variety of reasons) would deal with the whole thing (amazingly well, all things considered); and just simply toasted by the heat. Like, for real toasted. It was in the mid-90’s all week with hardly a puff of moving air beneath clear skies. I’d show you a picture of the orange puddle formerly known as a cat in the middle of our booth, but I was too weak to reach for the phone.

My (unfulfilled) intention had been to get a whole bunch of pictures to show you guys just how we do camping in our version of the Middle Ages. It’s more like moving than camping, really. We filled up a U-Haul trailer and the full-sized truck bed, all for just a week. Now, about half of that was our merchant stuff: bins of product, tables, tent, etc. Plus the hubby does his blacksmithing on site at this event, so we had to have all his basics as well. Then there’s our living tent, with the four-poster bed, nightstands, shelving units, lights…,


Tannenberg Hall

Home away from home

The above picture is from last year, but it’s been our living tent for a few years now. It’s looking a little saggy here because I don’t think we had the walls staked out yet, but you get the idea. It’s a lot to put up. Eighteen feet at the base, fourteen feet at the eaves, fourteen feet tall, with enough poles, ropes and stakes to build a Viking raider. We tend to swear a bit while dealing with it, and continuously wonder what the hell we were thinking when we decided to go this route. But the next morning when we get up from our real bed and make coffee and tea on our stove and sit in nice chairs to enjoy the day, we’re glad we have it. We’ve both done our time as minimalist campers – and it certainly has its appeal – but we ain’t getting any younger. When trying to get up off the floor of a modern tent (we affectionately call them earth pimples) takes a chair, your husband, and an engine hoist, it’s time to make the upgrade.


Steel-n-Strings montage

Little shop of hoarders

These pictures are mostly from an event we did in February. I do fiber arts stuff and the hubby plays with hot, sharp, heavy things. At this point it basically just pays for us to go to the events and make more stuff, but even that is nice since we’d probably not be able to do either without that small income. We’ve had slow but steady growth since we started, and our long-term desire is to be able to live off our crafts. My husband is looking into larger projects such as gates and doors, and I’m still struggling with my demons to get my writing into some sort of positive state. I love playing with string, but it’s not what I want for my full-time vocation. It is, however, where I’ve made the most money lately, so I’ll be weaving and stitching for a while.


Big men, small anvil

We also both happily teach what we know. Above is the husband-unit with a willing student discussing the basics of blacksmithing. I suppose playing with an 1800 degree fire makes standing around in 95+ degree heat seem positively brisk by comparison, but I still think they’re both quite bonkers.

My eye situation has left me hesitant to do any teaching, as I can’t see well enough to offer any positive critiques. But I do answer plenty of questions as I sit and weave in our booth, and have sent many a customer happily off with their purchases. It’s especially rewarding when they come back at some point and show off their projects. That’s the true joy of teaching, seeing that spark of enthusiasm and knowing you were able to help them.

When the sun sets, we close up shop and head back to the camp we share with several other good friends. We eat breakfast and dinner together, trading off kitchen duties and coordinating food and other camp chores. Most nights we sit around after dinner in our camp hall (another tent used as a communal room), and chat and drink and trade stories. That’s the best part, sharing the day with good friends. We had the added attraction this year of being on the main road close to where a lot of the event’s activities were scheduled, which gave us quite the show of costuming (good and bad), and was especially entertaining at night once the alcohol was fully imbibed by those passing by. Nothing like drunken revelers in over-sized codpieces accented by glow-in-the-dark rings to liven up your evening respite.

Eventually, it’s time for us to pack up and head back to the modern world. A bit bittersweet, as it means another year before I see some friends again. Even though we all keep in touch via the various electronic means, there’s nothing like sitting around the table sharing a bottle of whiskey and trading stories face-to-face. Something we don’t do enough of in this artificially accelerated civilization. If anything can be learned from my decades of experience as a re-creationist, it’s how important direct interactions can be.

So ditch the smart phones, the tablets, the laptops, the game stations, the widescreen TVs, and grab a friend for some real time together. Doesn’t matter what you do, just go do it. Live life with your own eyes. Even if it means dressing in funny clothes and renting a trailer.


Now that’s riding off into the sunset…

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Now that the new feline overlord seems to be settling in,…


“I find your lack of attention disturbing…”

… I’ve decided it’s time for a new official site anthem. One that is more in keeping with the new attitude I’m trying to develop. And also a statement about our world in general. I unfortunately couldn’t find a video with the original artists performing our new grand soundtrack, so you’ll just have to settle for a decent tribute band. Go check it out.





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