Monday, July 30, 2018

Weekend at French Creek Heritage Event and DLM Ice Cream Social (Cochranton, PA and Allison Park, PA)

Hey there!

I know, I know...I promised these new blog posts a while ago. These past couple weeks have been a whirlwind of 18th century attire, music gigs, rehearsals, among other things. On a recent Saturday, I ventured out to Cochranton, PA to hang out with friends and check out the French Creek Heritage Festival.
Now I typically attend these events in period attire, but after a couple weeks of being back and forth with fitness training and music gigs that were in 18th century attire (though one gig involved me performing my own music and dressing in a more gothic/celtic/fantasy inspired way), I decided to attend this one in "normal" clothes.

taken just after I arrived :)
Beyond the parking lot of the Cochranton Jr. Sr. High school (which is where we were to park) was this rather charming bridge that could very well have been a gateway to the distant past. In fact, I kind of liked to think of it that way.

 the stream beneath the bridge

On the other side of the bridge was a lovely quaint park also known as the Cochranton Fairgrounds. In fact, the whole town itself has the same very quaint charm.

While the French Creek Heritage event was French and Indian War, much of the park's surroundings and structures fall more into the Edwardian era category (late 19th century into early 20th century). I have dabbled a little in Edwardian and World War I era reenacting and for as much as I love the 18th century, there is definitely a certain romanticism about the Edwardian era that also attracts me.

a small museum space in the Cochranton Fairgrounds that resembles a late 19th and early 20th century business district

Below are some of the displays inside the museum. Much of them were a tribute to the Native American Seneca tribe.

The event also had some pretty cool and interesting speakers. I sat in on one lecture/round table discussion on the interaction and relations between the French, Native Americans, and the English during the French and Indian/Seven Year War. The discussion was an interesting and engaging one, covering the subject of the war from all three perspectives: the French, Native Americans, and English. What I appreciated about this lecture/round table discussion was that they did attempt to cover all three perspectives, as opposed to making it one sided, and very often we only get one side. The thing is that each individual group experienced this event from their own unique perspective and world view. I think that many times, we tend to view history in a way that is rather inaccurate. This not only applies to (in error) viewing history through a modern lens (which does a lot to skew things) but usually we tend to take one perspective and use that as the 'be all, end all.' The French and the English did not have the same culture or necessarily even the same world view, nor did any two Native American tribes (it is a common misconception that all Native tribes had the exact same language, beliefs, viewpoint of Europeans, etc.). I will get more into this in either a future blog post or vlog.

Round Table 1: "Pontiac's War - Uprising and Revenge on the Frontier"

some ice cream I enjoyed during the lecture/round table discussion

Another building on the fairgrounds that is worth a visit is an old railway station that was turned display/art gallery. Upon entering this building, there is once again much from the late 19th and early 20th century.

 Photos of the Cochrantion girls and boys high school basketball teams from the year 1928

Upon exiting the building, I was returned back to the 18th century. :)


setting up the battle reenactment

I also ran into 18th century artist friends John Buxton and Robert Griffing. I gave Buxton a shout out in my Fort Niagara posts, but not Griffing. Now here is his shout out:

Robert Griffing's Website

 Speaking of shout outs, I always like to give them up to the awesome sutlers I purchase from and this time, the spotlight is on Mountain Forge. I've bought from them before and they have nice variety in their inventory. I have been on a little mission to acquire some period appropriate sunwear. Mountain Forge had a large selection of parasols (I bought was $10, which is not a bad price). Next on my list are period appropriate sunglasses. Yes folks, the leopard ones are going away soon (at least at events that have a theme prior to mid 20th century). While I love leaving my own stamp on things and I appreciate that people seem to enjoy the sunglasses, the historical purist in me wins. Plus, since I do help new reenactors and living history interpreters put together their attire at a couple sites, not to mention that I'm part of the Pittsburgh Historical Costume Society, having more appropriate sunglasses might set a better example.

But anyway, here is the lovely parasol I got, along with another hand fan. Because I do love my hand fans, as many of you know. ;)

Show Mountain Forge some love at their website and social media. They are awesome and have some really good stuff.

Mountain Forge Website
Mountain Forge Facebook Page

While the French Creek Heritage Event is not a large one (at least not in the way of a Fort Frederick or Fort Niagara), it is quite enjoyable and the speakers are definitely worth checking out. Check the event out at their website:

French Creek Heritage Event

The day after Cochranton, Wayward Companions and I performed with the Pittsburgh Historical Music Society Orchestra at the Depreciation Lands Museum's 18th century Ice Cream Social. I wore the new hat that I made (there will be a step by step blog post on how I made it) and got to use my new parasol. So it was a win even before we performed to a very enthusiastic audience. :)

the free ice cream, cake, and lemonade that I got to have after performing. Yes I sang for my dessert. 
You can also check out Depreciation Lands Museum at their website:

I am going to try and get caught up on my blogposts and video uploads this week before I go to Bushy Run this Saturday. The next post will be in the Health and Beauty section. Until then, enjoy the rest of Monday. :)

Oh, and if you want to see even more photos from events and such, come into my email tribe. :).

Friday, July 20, 2018

Newly completed sewing projects...

Hey there!

So as I prep my blog posts on the French Creek Heritage event in Cochranton, PA, the ice cream social at the Depreciation Lands Museum in Allison Park, PA and the Whiskey Rebellion Festival, I'm sharing some recent small sewing and jewelry projects and giving the sutlers from whom I bought the materials from a shout out. :)

The first is a satin drawstring bag with a silk ribbon as the drawstring. Drawstring bags can be used in most era reenacting, starting at the late 14th century. Satin made its introduction in the Middle Ages, originally made from silk.
While I bought the material from JoAnn Fabric, the silk ribbon is from one of my favorite 18th century sutlers, Liberty Linens.

 The second item is a necklace made from a pendant I got from Grandma's Soap and Stuff (another one of my faves) and silk black ribbon that I also bought from Liberty Linens at the Fort Frederick Market Fair back in April. I was debating between matching the pendant with the red ribbon (now used in the drawstring bag) or the black. Followers on my Facebook page unanimously preferred the black. I think the right choice was made. :)

The last one includes a heart shaped pocket watch I got from Romantically Bent in Fort Niagara. I swapped the chain out for the other half of the black silk ribbon that I got from Liberty Linens. :)

Check out these awesome sutlers on their web pages.

Liberty Linens:
Liberty Linens Website
Liberty Linens Facebook

Grandma's Soap and Stuff :
Grandma's Soap and Stuff website

Romantically Bent:
Romantically Bent Facebook
Romantically Bent Instagram

Monday, July 16, 2018

Old Fort Niagara French and Indian War Encampment (Youngstown, NY), Part 2

Hey there,

After another crazy week of fitness and music rehearsals (plus my gig at the Treasure 15 even), we are on to part 2 of my Fort Niagara posts. The really fun stuff about the sutlers and blanket traders. As always, some sutlers are new to me while others I've purchased from before. Either way, they are all awesome. :)
Featured in this blog post, we have:

Grandma's Soap and Stuff
Romantically Bent
Father, Son and Friends

So when I set out on my Fort Niagara expedition, I was stoked to see one of my favorite sutlers. I wrote a little on Grandma's Soap and Stuff and their amazing product in my Fort Frederick blog. Not only is the product great (and like castles, I do have a bit of an obsession with handmade soap), but the owners are an absolute joy to hang out and talk with. I purchased quite a bit from them at Fort Frederick and at Fort Niagara, I bought two more soap bars (Dragon's Blood and Dead Sea Mud & Salt).
Because I make my own lip balm, you won't typically see me purchasing it, but upon my arrival at Fort Niagara, I discovered that I was running low. Thankfully, Grandma's Soap and Stuff also makes lip balm and they happened to have some there.
Now one item on the inventory of Grandma's Soap and Stuff  that I still had yet to try was their tea. And I love tea, so I ended up buying some, along with a maple cake. I will be reviewing a couple of their products in the next health and beauty post.

My Fort Niagara Grandma's Soap & Stuff purchases

Definitely check out Grandma's Soap and Stuff:
Grandma's Soap and Stuff Website

They also offer gift wrapping, so if you are looking for a great gift idea, definitely consider their soap and other products. :)

Next on the agenda (aside from more exploration of the castle and other structures within the fort) was a visit to Romantically Bent. This was a new sutler for me, but I was pretty drawn in by her 18th century clothing display as I approached her tent. The owner, Christine Scanlon, is another fun person to talk to and I loved looking around at what she had to offer. I did need a new pair of clocked stockings, so I ended up picking up a pair (I think the pair I got was $14...not a bad deal). Hand fans are another item that I seem to be developing an obsession for. In my opinion, you can never have too many and you do need a variety of styles depending on the color and style of your outfit and what look you're going for (at least that's what I keep telling myself). Another item that caught my attention was the heart shaped pocket watch. So I bought it because why not. :)

Romantically Bent Purchases
Check out Romantically Bent on Facebook and Instagram:
Romantically Bent on Facebook
Romantically Bent on Instagram

Another type of item I have a weakness for are items Celtic or Celtic inspired. And if you're into that sort of thing Father, Son and Friends are well stocked. In addition to being a store, they are also a musical group and a very good one at that.
So basically I was in need of a sturdy canvas bag to haul music stuff around in and found one such thing at the Father Son and Friends tent. And it also goes with the whole Celtic Fantasy thing I have going in my own music and much of my writing. So yay, I was happy about that.

my bag from Father, Son an Friends

Show Father Son and Friends some love on the interwebs and check out the music too!
Father Son and Friends website
Father Son and Friends on Facebook 

Among those that I had the pleasure of interacting with at Fort Niagara were a couple artists (painters) and an author of French and Indian War novels. These artists are Pamela Patrick White and Bryant White, John Buxton, and William P. Robertson. Many within the living history and reenactment communities in my neck of the woods are familiar with the works of John Buxton (as well as Robert Griffing). The Whites have also been pretty well-known within the history festival circuit. William P. Robertson's novels have been acclaimed and in addition to his historic fiction novels, he is also a writer of horror (he's sending me some goodies so expect a write up/review of the works in the near future). All of these artists are acclaimed in what they do and I am very honored to have them show interest in using my likeness as possible inspiration for future works. Definitely show them love and check out their works!

Welp, that wraps up my Fort Niagara blog and leaves me room to move onto blogging about the next events I attended! To conclude, here are a couple more photos. You can see even more of these by coming into my email tribe. :)

Up next: I tell you a little of this past weekend at the French Creek Heritage Festival in Cochrantion, PA and my gig with Wayward Companions and Pittsburgh Historical Music Society at the Depreciation Lands Museum's 18th century Ice Cream Social!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Old Fort Niagara French and Indian War Encampment (Youngstown, New York), Part 1

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to kick off the month of July at the Old Fort Niagara French and Indian War Encampment. I also apologize for the slight delay of the Fort Niagara blog posts. It has been a hectic week between fitness training, getting re-rehearsed in my own songs for the Treasure Night 15 event, and then rehearsing with Wayward Companions for the Whiskey Rebellion Festival and two other gigs we have over the forthcoming weekends! So yes, it's been pretty busy here in my corner. :D

But anyway...

It was my first year at this particular reenactment event and was definitely one I was looking forward to, especially upon seeing photos of the castle from friends that have already been there. Fort Niagara also has some pretty cool history behind it.

I set out early Friday evening when I met my travel homies at around 5pm and we made the 4-5 hour drive to Youngstown, NY. It was about 10pm upon our arrival and I was immediately taken in by the night time scenery, from the beautiful Lake Ontario to the castle (I have what might be a rather unhealthy obsession with castles).

After we unloaded our stuff into the tents, I went for a walk, briefly visiting the castle and using that time to observe and take an "I have arrived" selfie.

The night time weather was quite lovely, making the night spent in a tent a very pleasant one.

I got up the following morning and went for a little jog (as I typically do at these events) and in doing so, I was able to take in even more of the scenery.

the castle in the daylight

For this event, I decided to wear one of my newly sewn outfits and I set out on my exploring expedition.

on the third floor of the castle in front of Betsy Doyle's memorial display. She's badass :)

the cool little pass all of us had to carry

Lake Ontario. Seriously, it's amazing to see in person.

another photo taken during my exploration of the castle

A bird was also chilling in the rafters. It turned out that the nest was nearby.

I hung out in the French Military kitchen for quite some time since I met some really cool people who shared food from the hearth with me. Food from the hearth is always welcome. I also had a couple 18th century artists and an author interested in using my image for their future works. I will get a little more into them and their works - along with the sutlers I encountered and purchased from - in the next part of the Fort Niagara blogs.

the castle at close to sun down...

having a beer with friends at the evening tavern

The following morning (Sunday), I had to leave pretty early on due to the fact that Wayward Companions were rehearsing for the Whiskey Rebellion gig which took place the following weekend. A recap of the Whiskey Rebellion Festival will also be posted here soon.

The drive home was very scenic and so I took a couple photos.

the healthiest things I could find at a gas station I stopped at

Stay tuned for part 2 of my Fort Niagara blog postings, along with other forthcoming blog posts that will feature Whiskey Rebellion photos, my step by step process on making an 18th century hat (my goal is to have it completed in time for the next Wayward Companions gig on July 15), and a review of one of my favorite sutlers' product in the Health and Beauty section of this blog. My next adventures also include going to the Cochranton and Bushy Run Battlefield reenactment events. I haven't decided whether I will dress in period clothes for these particular events since I will only be day tripping it on the Saturdays to hang out with friends. We shall see. Maybe I'll feel inspired. :)