Well, I see it has been a year since I have written last. That went fast! Lots of ideas are being thought about and I will share them with you. I have found a very inspiring book from the UK. The Garden Cottage Diaries, my year in the eighteenth century by Fiona J. Houston. This adventurous woman lived in a small cottage behind her home in Scotland as if it was in the 18th century. When she could she used items from this period. Bed linens that actually had the date embroidered on them, household wares and such. She even had recipes in her book. I think I had written some time before that I had always wanted to try nettle soup and she had a recipe for it among other things. So this spring I will be selling stinging nettles to our Local Foods store. How many of you have eaten or even used nettles for anything constructive? It was absolutely mind boggling to see all the great things pop up on Pinterest. The recipes (there are even nettle rolls in Theresa Carle-Sanders' Outlander Kitchen cook book), yarn, string, and clothing. When one uses nettles for food you only use the top 3 leaves. These are the most tender. This is what I will be picking and selling to the grocery store. Below this top it starts to get tough and woody, but does not mean useless. If you leave the rest of the nettles grow till early autumn they can used to produce fibers that can be used in cordage, yarn and string. Check out Youtube, many videos on making cordage with nettles.
It is all very fascinating stuff here. Although I find all of the ancient arts very interesting. Several weeks ago a few friends and I went to a rendezvous trade show. It was a huge event that had vendors dealing with items from the French Fur Traders to the Civil War re-enactors. I bought a pottery ink well for my dip pen, a tallow candle and a bar of shampoo made from nettles. I love the nettle shampoo, it makes my hair very soft and full. If you are interested in the bar you can find it in the etsy shop at www.livinginthepastllc.etsy.com.
Soon I will tell you my adventures in tallow soap and candle making.
It is already march and I have started working on my schedule for the summer. I will again be at the Ren in the Glen in Glenwood City, WI on July 29 & 30th. This is an amazing renaissance fair in western Wisconsin with mind blowing talent. Well worth the trip!
One of my biggest challenges with learning Scottish Gaelic is being able to use it. The more one is able to use it the faster one learns and the better it sticks in the brain. That being said and Gaelic speakers being as hard to find as phoenix feathers in western Wisconsin, I have resorted to finding reading material. I have actually found a few sites of reading material which I would love to share...
I will post more as I find them. I have also discovered that Google Translate will translate words and phrases fairly well. One has to watch as Scottish Gaelic can be sometimes a little tricky.
Well off to feed the chickens.
Madainn Mhath ( Good Morning)
'S mise Sharon (I am Sharon)
Ciamar a tha sibh? ( How are you?)
Tha mi gu math, tapadh leibh. ( I am well, thank you)
'S ann à Aimeireaga a tha mi. ( I am from America)
Tha mi ag ionnsacgadh Gàigdlig ( I am learning Gaelic)
Chan eil mòran Gàidhlig agam (I don't speak much Gaelic)
Tha madainn bhrèagha ann (It is a lovely morning)
Beannachd leibh, ma-thà (Good-bye, then)
The Gaelic has been slow going. I sometimes get sidetracked for a few weeks, but then get back to it. Still looking for a learning partner, but I am sure one will pop up someday. In the meantime enjoying the experience. Be brave, my friends. Learn new things.
I have told you before I am learning to speak Gaelic through free online sources. If you are interested please check out my links page for these very helpful sites. One of my greatest problems was using these skills as I learn them. It is all right and dandy to learn the words and phrases, but one needs to hear them spoken and speak them for them to become part of you. Well, we seem to have a shortage of Gaelic speakers in central Wisconsin and some of the videos I have been seeing are nearly impossible for a beginner to follow. So what is a girl to do? I found these two lovely Gaelic television series on Youtube. Bannan and Machair. I have just finished watching "Bannan" and loved it. It had love, babies, intrigue, drama, and beautiful scenery. It was spoken in Gaelic, but had English subtitles. If I was a little more proficient in Gaelic I could probably follow quite easily, but as it was I could pick out a fair amount of the words I knew. Just to let you know, it ends quite suddenly, so I hope the new season come on soon. I have not gotten into "Machair" much yet, but it looks interesting also.
There is also a great youtube series that teaches one songs in Gaelic. If I were a decent singer this would be great fun, but I am not and I still found it interesting. It is part of the Feis Rios tutor series, with the award winning Gaelic singer Rachel Walker. Here is the website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na9NhB7ZrZs&list=RDna9NhB7ZrZs#t=3.
Hope this finds you well and helps a bit with your interests.
Là Noamh Bhaileintin
Last week I told you about British Pub find, which I did go to the Burn's Night celebration. It was a great time with a wonderful setting, a bit of Burn's history and readings, and great food. I was very pleased with the evening.
Still working on my Outlander wardrobe. (Did you catch the word "wardrobe"?) In one of the posts from the American Duchess' blog, she speaks of quilted petticoats. Apparently when the weather gets colder, one just keeps adding petticoats or there is a quilted petticoat. So in the interest of saving time, energy and sanity on another blog it mentioned one could find a quilted coverlet to use. These are thin quilts that one would use more for looks than actual warmth I would think. Anyways, while scouring my favorite store (Saver's) I found this luscious tidbit. this is actually the backside of the quilted coverlet. The front was brighter patchwork pieces and was pretty in it's own right, but when I saw the underside, I nearly fainted. This could even be shown with an open front over skirt. It probably was a good thing no one else was holding it at the time or I probably would have snatched it right out of their hands, though I try not to do things like that. SO my best advice to anyone this week is: Haunt those second hand stores! I find the most treasures there.
Here are some links on the quilted petticoat (history and ideas):
I love finding new opportunities for Scottish type activities. A British pub opened up in the town I work in. It even has a cool British name "The Duke and Dagger". The best part is Robert Burns birthday is this coming week and they are having a Burns Night planned. There is a speaker who will be sharing the life and times of the poet, along with some poetry ready and singing of Auld Land Syne. There will also be ethnic food specials and Scotch tasting. I do like a bit of Jameson in my Pepsi, but always wanted to sample scotch. I was thrilled to find this out, for there is little to no Scottish activities in my area. I will let you know how it works out.
What is one to do when there are no opportunities to enjoy your favorite interests. One can travel to far away places, but that can be pricey or get things started in your area which can also be pricey if you are not very clever. As you know I have been learning to speak Scottish Gaelic. It has been a slow process(which is alright), but I think it would help a great deal if I had someone to talk to. Someone to use what I have learned on. So hence the Gaelic lesson at libraries and Ren fests. I am by no means fluent or even very good, but I do speak some basics. So my theory is that if I can get someone else interested, then I will have some one to talk to and with. That is the plan. Along with the language learning a group of friends and I, have also started an annual belly dance show that is now in its 9th year and a steampunk festival that will be it's 3rd year this year. It is so easy to say oh well and let it go, but it is so much more fun to get things started and meet new people and have fun. In my favorite immortal words of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard "Make it so!"
The New Year is upon and it always amazes me that the year has gone by so quickly. It has been a good year in most areas, bizarre in some and sad that we lost so many talented performers.
This coming year I have some exciting plans that I have been working on all year that will finally come to light. I can let you in on some of the things I have been working. I now have a pinterest page set up named Clachan Àm. I know the advice one usually gets is to have a name that is easy to say and remember, but the thought is it will draw the curious and they will remember it had a weird name. Clachan Àm loosely means "The Standing Stones of Time" in Scottish Gaelic. (I hope I figured that out right). The page has Outlander, Outlander inspired clothing, Scotland, Scottish Gaelic, Scottish recipes, Eary American type boards, and historical arts and craft boards along with other fun things.
Another project that has been challenge to me is the "Outlander" ensemble I am constructing from the Simplicity pattern. It has been extremely fun and a bit interesting at times as I have never worked with plaids or pleats before. I also had not tried to do something of this caliber historically correct as possible. My handy dandy references have been the show's dvds, The Making of Outlander The Series Official Guide, and The American Duchess blog and facebook page. The woman behind the American Duchess is the mastermind behind the Simplicity Outlander pattern. I have even messaged her with a question I had and she answered with great info. If you message her on her facebook page she tries to answer within a couple of hours. I will take all the help I can get, but it has been great fun.
If you are looking for a New Years resolution (not that most of need to look for one), I always try to learn at least 1 new thing. I am actually thinking of the Norwegian class on Future Learn this new year. Not sure if it is feasible to learn 2 languages at once, but I am always up for a challenge. (Did I mention I was taking Irish Step dance classes with my granddaughter.)
Bliadhna mhath Ùr (Happy New Year)
Most people think a community is the neighborhood in which you live, but a community is a group of people that you associate with. One can belong to several communities. I feel I do and love enjoying each ones activities and camaraderie. Some of these are the local belly dance community, the steampunk community, a local renfest and re enactors community
I have been learning Scottish Gaelic for a little over a year now. I think I am doing fairly well and could understand and participate in a simple conversation. Throughout this learning process I will tell you it has not been all smooth sailing. Life has stumbled in several times and stalled the learning process. It happens to the best of us. The main thing to remember is to not give up. Deal with your life and come back when you have the chance. I have even had to spend some time going back over some lessons to refresh my memory. The important thing to remember is - Don't Give Up! Go over and catch up and go on. It was amazing how much I did remember when I went back over some of the lessons when I came back to it. One thing I have not been able to do is find someone to converse with. If anyone reading this is interested in having Gaelic conversation, contact me. Well, life has now slowed down and I am hoping to get back to my learning and blogging.
I love all things Scottish, Steampunk, belly dancing, and spending time with the granddaughters.