Tag Archives: family

Shamans and Fairies, Oh My! (an update on our Scarborough Costumes)

2 Apr

So, we picked up our tickets for Scarborough Ren Fest last weekend, and we’re planning on making it to opening day (for the first time!) this weekend. I’ve been working hard on finishing our costumes, and, fortunately, my mom agreed to make Tom’s peasant pants, so I could concentrate on the other stuff.

Now, they’re not your typical renaissance festival costumes, exactly. Tom is going as a shaman/green man combo, and I’m going as a dragon fairy. There are nods to renaissance attire, but they’re in no way meant to be historically accurate.

I finished Tom’s “breastplate” (for lack of a better word.) It went from this:


… to this:


I embroidered Nordic designs onto a pleather-y fabric (it’s felted on the back, which I hope will be comfortable for him to wear all day.) There are runic compasses, symbols for guiding you to a specific outcome or trait, and a border design I found online. I’ve hand sewn on faux fur trim, and leather fringe and trim, and added moss and acrylic paint for a lived-in look.

I also made antlers/horns from Sculpey clay to add to his headdress. I painted the antlers with various colors of acrylic paint, and sealed with Mod Podge. Then, I attached them to their own cord to be worn underneath the band of the headdress, which I cut holes into for the antlers to “grow” out of.


I tried out some makeup looks for my dragon fairy costume yesterday:


I plan on dyeing my hair purple before Saturday, hence the purple eyebrows. I still need some practice with using fishnets to produce a “scale” effect on my skin, but I like the way the colors coordinate with the headdress.

To view more photos of our costume pieces, go to this post. You’ll find more of my fairy costume, and some other in progress and inspiration pics!

Gentle hugs,



“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” – Cicero

24 Nov

Why is it that the holidays are filled with grief for so many people?


The year that we lost my grandmother was incredibly hard. It was close to Christmas, and, rather than our family coming together for the holiday, we came together to say goodbye to a woman who helped mold and shape us into the people we’d become. To top it off, I was in college, young, and self absorbed (it wouldn’t be long before I began living on my own,) and my world was being turned upside down. ┬áIt’s taken nearly a decade, but we’ve recovered by honoring some old family traditions, and starting new ones in an effort to move on. We share memories and visit her grave site. We keep her memory, and try to let go of the pain.

I find myself dealing with such similar pain again this year, but with more loss than I could have imagined in such a short period of time.


A couple of months ago, when I lost my dad, I thought back to how hard it had been to lose Nana so close to the holidays, and I think about how different this experience has been for me than that one was. As close as I was with my grandmother, losing a parent has been a whole different kind of grief. We also had time to prepare, as a family, for my Nana’s passing, and she had time to prepare for the funeral arrangements, and to express her wishes to her children. While Dad was sick, all of us were taken by surprise when he died. He had no will, and even though he had two filing cabinets filled with papers, I’ve yet to find a current bank statement or phone bill to take care of his accounts. I’m also the only child, so I’m just thankful that I have my mom and husband to help ease me through the process.


A couple of weeks ago, we lost my Uncle David (my dad’s brother.) He lived 30 years cancer-free after being treated for lymphoma in 1983, but suddenly became ill several months ago. What started as severe anemia lead the doctors to find an internal loss of blood, which lead them to find the tumors in his abdomen. They began treatment just days after Dad passed, and decided that we’d wait until Christmas to get together for the holidays, since his immune system would be so suppressed during chemo. After a short time in treatment, though, our family knew it probably wouldn’t be long before he joined Dad in heaven. My aunt and cousins stayed by his side for his remaining time here on Earth, which was spent mostly at the hospital. We attended his memorial today, which was filled with family, friends, fellow Army service members, and fellow firemen, including the Honor Guard, who performed their ceremony to honor him. We talked about how appropriate it was for him, the big brother, to follow closely behind the little brother on their way home.

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Yesterday, my mom called me to tell me that her dog, our family dog, Jewel, had become disoriented and could hardly walk. When I was in high school, Mom thought I should have a dog, but after I spent the first few days away at a school tournament, she really became Mom’s. She had been severely abused and neglected, and was so grateful to have a loving home. She returned the favor and then some by warning us when my Nana had a heart attack, and warning my mom before she nearly went into a diabetic coma. For the past couple of years, there were times when we thought she was close to death, but she would spring back to life the next day, and act like a puppy for days or months before acting her age again. She was 15 years old, had gone blind, and could hardly hear or smell. Then the dementia-like symptoms started. Just within the past few weeks, she began snapping at Mom, and we knew that if she didn’t bounce back this time, we may have to have her put to sleep. We honestly believe that she waited until Mom was well enough, after her knee replacement, to walk on her own before “telling” us it was her time to go. The employees at the vet’s office were so kind and respectful, and the process was very fast. Even though my mom and I know it was the right thing to do, it’s heartbreaking to lose an animal that was so much more than a pet to us.

Needless to say, this has been a very hard time for our family. I don’t know what to do with this grief. It’s hard to speak with friends, because I have such little good news to give them. The tears often come unexpectedly, and I feel like my brain is only capable of meeting the minimum requirements right now. I barely even thought about Thanksgiving until a couple of days ago, and again today when my aunt and cousins invited us to share the dinner they decided to go ahead with this Friday. So, life goes on, and we deal with all this loss in the best way we can.

We do our jobs, and get back to our routines.

We have Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and look for a new dog to rescue.

We’ll make new traditions, and maybe, in a decade or so, we’ll feel close to normal again.

Gentle hugs,


Burly men in skirts, rats, fire and mead, oh my!

23 Apr

The hubs and I made our yearly trek to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival over the weekend. We’re fortunate enough to have a friend who’s working there this year, so we were able to score free tickets. We walked our little tushes off, ate decadent faire food, and were thoroughly entertained!

I wasn’t able to take as many photos as I would have liked, but at least I get to share all the cute animals we encountered! The rats from Cirque du Sewer were very friendly. The Highland Games were impressive (who doesn’t enjoy men in kilts lifting heavy objects?) and the Kamikaze Fireflies put on a wonderfully funny and dangerous show full of fire, acrobatics, hooping and juggling.

The food was delicious, with the exception of the Scottish egg, which had a slight hint of tea tree oil … this is what you get when you mix copious amounts of natural products with food vendors. Tom purchased a couple of bags of sugared pecans and almonds for himself, and I found a pretty ear cuff to wear. I also found a little something for my mom, but she reads this blog, so, sorry, Mom! You’ll just have to wait for your present.

Of course, I’ll be paying for our little excursion for a while (we walked a good 3 miles or so on gravel and muddy grass,) but we had a good time, and, thanks to some effective sunscreen, we’re sunburn-free. If you’re in the DFW area, I highly suggest making it out to one of the themed weekends. There are scooters for rent, and lots of beautiful handmade canes for sale, if you need a little boost making it around the park. There’s plenty to experience just by sitting and watching the fun happen all around you!

Gentle hugs,


Too tired to write. Here are some pictures for you.

29 Apr

We had a good (exhausting) time at Scarborough Faire yesterday:

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Gentle hugs,