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The Wikipedia Conundrum

You’ve probably noticed how often the links in my posts are to a Wikipedia article. It’s like when you google and the search engine puts Wikipedia’s information in a fact box, or Apple’s Siri replies with it to answer your question. They’re an easy link to include to give you more information.  I know it’s not the highest scholarly source. Some articles don’t even cite quality references for you to verify. Yet there is no other free resource like it.  There are things you should know about Wikipedia itself if you don’t already.  Wikipedia’s noble goal is to eventually cover every knowledgeable topic in the world. This impossible mission has made it a top ten most searched website in the world.  But did you know Wikipedia was not the first online encyclopedia? Seven others attempted it first. And Wikipedia began as part of one of them, Nupedia.  Also, Wikipedia’s operation is unique. It works through a volunteer gaggle and without traditional advisory boards or editors. A contributors’ pool that is prompt, authoritative and effective.  But this force is shrinking while Wikipedia’s needs have increased. Its articles have grown in length. Plus it must also defend against the worlds vandals and manipulators. To revitalize it Wikipedia’s owner developed legal and technical ways to adapt its website and software to handle this. It created new editing tools and vetting procedures. And their automatic programs now reverse incorrect format changes and warn probable vandals they’re caught. These stiffer quality control measures reduce shams and hoaxes making things better for you and me, […]

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Tips And Tricks To Making A Neat Scroll

I make them too. One distinguishing trait between a beginning scribe and an experienced one is their clean page. Experienced scribes have tricks they use to keep their scroll neat and clean as they work. Here I offer some to you in case you haven’t figured them out yourself.  Wash your hands before you begin working and omit hand lotion. Don’t have […]

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Why Is Art Important In The SCA?

Medieval art involved not creative freedom but subjection to rules. Some time after classical antiquity all period creations were done for God’s glory. If that’s the case how does art relate to you and me in the Society for Creative Anachronism? Especially since the organization is apolitical and nonreligious. Why is Art important in the SCA? First, what is art? […]

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Missing 12th Night

I didn’t plan to forgo 12th Night. I had handmade gifts for my Lonely Tower friends – lotion bars, lip balm, and chocolate dipped candy canes for their winter coffees. I had the Arts and Sciences competition things prepared and ready to go. Looking forward to my favorite winter holiday. Sadly a serious out of town family emergency arose. A […]

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Throwback Criteria

Calligraphy Criteria  -Novice While it’s not Thursday yet I thought you’d like to see a throwback of sorts from August of 1996.  Years ago the Kingdom of Calontir had Arts and Sciences’s Criteria that were different than those we use today. The other day I was reorganizing some papers and my copies for both calligraphy and illumination resurfaced.  I’d been […]

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"Uncopyright Notice" Notice

Historiated initial of a man citing a layman by touching him with a staff.  You may have noticed I now have a copywrite on my blog. Well, it’s actually an uncopywrite. I am releasing my rights to everything I personally create here and place them all into the public domain.  What does that include? That includes articles I’ve written or linked to my posts on this blog since I started it in December 2015. Unless I state otherwise that will apply to any future content I personally create and publish on What does this mean to you? As much as you want you can use my uncopyrighted work in various ways. You could:  Repost it on your own website  Translate it into other languages Transfer it to different media like your own articles and posts Make money from what you create from my work such as selling it in ebook form or linking it to Amazon and make money. Develop a scribal workshop or seminar based on my handouts You don’t need to directly ask my permission to do these or other things. You can just do it. If you’re not sure about something, consult your inner counsel and make whatever decision you believe is honorable. Don’t ask me about anything legal because it’s all Greek to me. Plus, I’ve already put this in the public domain. While I am giving away the copyrights, if you reuse my work, please give me […]

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Merry Christmas All

I’m fortunate my grandkids wanted this Grandma to stay overnight again this year. Waking up and watching them open their presents is my gift from them. There is no greater joy than seeing their dreams come true on Christmas. They won’t always be so eager for my sleepover with them, but for now I will enjoy it and be grateful. I […]

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Christmas Wishes From The 16th Century

With tomorrow being Christmas I thought you would enjoy this 16th-century poem describing what it meant at least to Thomas Musser – the poet of early Elizabethan farm life. Musser wrote about it in his book Fiue Hundreth Pints O Good Husbandry chapter 23.  Feast from the British Library’s 16th-c digitized Golf Book Add MS 24098  f. 19 Of Christ cōmeth Christmas, the name wt ye feast, a time […]

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Kris Kinder Market in Calontir

Well, this didn’t go well. I’m a delinquent blogger. So many pictures for your viewing, so little time during the holidays. Earlier this month I went to Calontir’s Kris Kinder Market event, again. It’s my favorite indoor event. Who doesn’t like to shop and visit with friends? Here are a few of the many photos I snapped while browsing the wares […]

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Internet Round Up 5

Again my internet surfing snared websites too good to keep from you. These turn up as I sleuth out information for blog posts. I’ve been saving them to post in one place. These popped up relating to life-long e-learning. And learning  about Medieval history, its people and its things are what we do in the SCA. The Medieval History section of Thought Company. This is a life-long learning website with 20 years creating educational content. Each section has its own ‘guide’ editor highlighting interesting topics and commentary articles. There’s a helpful Section Guide with their interests and an email newsletter for you to keep learning something daily. Khan Academy is a non-profit organization offering you personalized learning videos and an individualized dashboard so you can study at your own pace. Its intriguing Introduction to the Middle Ages is a perfect starting place for Medieval private study. is for more scholarly research. It a way academics share research papers with masses of people for free. The company’s mission is to accelerate the world’s research. But it also allows them to monitor analytics impacting their research, and tracking the research they follow. is widely read attracting over 37 million visitors a month. Related Prior Post: Internet Round-Up 1, 2, 3, and 4.

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People Of Color In SCA Award Scrolls

With western art books and resources being mostly produced by white people they tend to assume the white European as a human standard. And in Western European illuminated manuscripts there is a dearth of people of color. But they do exist. And all ethnicities are welcomed into the SCA.  Dijon – BM – ms._0562 f. 181Vcreated around 1260-1270 representing the Holy Land So how do you create an award scroll for a non-White friend with people that look like them? Or maybe your scroll recipient has assumed a Saracen persona. How do you create a scroll creating accurate historic art combat scenes? You seek out original works. There are a few Western European illuminated manuscript pages including people of color. But they may be inappropriate to use such as this one portraying people in the Holy Land created in the late 13th century.  Some 13th -15th century popular French illuminated manuscripts feature Christian-Muslim interaction pictures such as the British Library’s Histoire d’Outremer. And various copies of the Grandes Chroniques de France and the Roman d’Alexandre en Prose. But the best place to search is the website MedievalPOC. It is a blog showcasing European works of art featuring people of color from the fall of the Roman Empire until about 1650. Often these works go unseen elsewhere and you might see them differently now viewing them from a fresh perspective. The blog is searchable and even gives you a guide to its use. If you search digitized manuscripts you’ll see the […]

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Happy Friendversary – Almost

Detail from the British Library’s manuscript Burney 201  f. 90  Some of you have been reading this blog since I started it December 9, 2015. I am so pleased you are still with me. It’s an anniversary of sorts. A friendversary. It’s been an incredible journey for me. Seeing my numbers rise is inspiring. And the numbers keep going up. I started it as a hobby and a way to stay connected with people in the SCA and other scribes. I‘ve tried to give you meaty purposeful tips, tricks, and information about book arts and the SCA. I couldn’t have done it without you. A blog isn’t a blog without you the readers.  Especially this one because it isn’t my career. So as we celebrate a friendversary I want to say thank you for your support over the years. You’ve helped me make a dream come true. I hope what I’ve shared here has helped make your dreams realities, too.So here’s to our future together. With a new calendar year almost upon us, too. I hope you’re able to realize even more of your life’s dreams this year. Wishing you a Happy Friendversary. May we share many more.Related Prior Post:70 Years And Still CountingKris Kinder Absence–Family First My One Day Pageviews Shot Up Over 1000

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Tips To Drawing More Period People

The way Medieval faces, feet, and hands appear in manuscripts varies by era or location, often in the details. Some appear cartoonish others more realistic. What’s the best way for you to learn how to draw period-looking people?  Motifs I traced then transferred to M. Luciana’s Renaissance scroll. Most of us have been seeing since we were born but learning how to observe […]

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Full Moons And Medieval Prediction

Diagram from the German Arundel 501 f. 26v  to determine feast days  and the moon’s age. Tonight there is a full moon. But if you, as your persona, lived after 1100 you probably considered the moon to be a planet. If you thought about its movements at all you thought it revolved around the Earth in a perfect circle. Just like Mercury, Jupiter and even the Sun […]

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Holiday Shopping For SCA Scribes, Book Artists And Friends

Gifts featured at Kris Kinder. With Thanksgiving over it’s time you turn to preparing for the coming winter holidays’ gift-giving. Here’s a few shopping tips and budget friendly ideas. You could put together a scribal gift-pack like the one I described in my post Holiday Scribal Gift Ideas. It’s easy to make yourself and a great gift for a want-to-be scribe for 12th Night.   […]

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Surviving Winter

I detest winter. Not just the cold, but also the dark. I live like a mole until March. But with 24-hour supermarkets and drive through fast-food I survive until the sun returns. Do you have the same aversion?  With all the modern conveniences it’s easy to forget the once great effort it took to survive winter. Preserving autumn’s harvest and fully stocking larders for the long nights and short days. What did our medieval forebears do to survive their barren, cold days? One way you can see their wintry concerns and activities are through Breviarys, Books of Hours and Psalters‘ calendar pages.  Medieval manuscripts’ calendars served multiple purposes. They kept track of the date. They told you what the relevant zodiac sign was and which days were Church feasts and holidays. And since most were decorated with seasonal ‘labor of the month’ pictures you can see what people did then. Their daily life.   My daily life this winter, after Lonely Tower’s coming 12th Night Event, will be to head south for a time. To break the dark, cold monotony and learn something new.  What do you do to survive winter? What would your SCA persona do? Related prior Posts:  Searching for Easter Week in Illuminated Manuscripts Related External Sites:  British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts’ blog posts on calendar pages. My favorite. National Library of Sweden’s detailed discussion on calendars. Googling medieval calendars images. This often gets more than you expect.

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A Scribe’s Quick Guideline Generator

I learned scribal illumination long before I pursued calligraphy. I tried calligraphy, but I wouldn’t do it on a scroll. My problem was I detested drawing the guidelines. I still do. You have to be so accurate for the page to look its best.  But I’m not the only one like that. Do you like ruling up? 15th Century French Book of Hours Recently I went searching and found another way to solve that problem. It’s an online guide that will help, and especially good for practicing because it’s quick.  It’s Scribblers’ Guideline Generator.  This is a snappy approach to creating the distances between your lines with a click of the button. Once you generate one page you can print it from your browser.  The best thing is the space between your text-lines doesn’t have to be the same as those for your script. You can suit it to the spacing that’s more like your inspiration manuscript. Scribblers is a store that stocks a wide range of calligraphy supplies and equipment. Unfortunately, it will be years before I get to it. It’s based in North East Suffolk, United Kingdom.  While you’re on its website have a look at the many articles it has to help you learn calligraphy. I’m always looking for ways to improve. Theirs are the best.  Related Prior Post:  How To Draw Calligraphy Guidelines With A Pencil And Ruler

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