Thursday, May 21, 2020

Current Mood

Quarantine has been a funny time in this household. The days seem to mesh together in one long, uninterrupted Saturday. I am currently teaching online, and even that will end soon with the start of "summer vacation." There's long stretches of work with longer stretches of...nothing.

Typically at this time of year I'm sprinting to prepare for Greenfield Village. My students would be working on final exams, and we'd be planning our summer travel schedule. Everything has come to a full stop and it's bewildering to say the least.

On the one hand, I have this wonderful time to work and grow. I've taken online classes, interacted electronically, and read more books than I have in years. I participated in Costume On, and online conference, and have seen people fall in love with punch paper just as I have over the past few years. There's no price tag on this type of peace. My fiance and I are very lucky we're still paid for our jobs, so there is no financial impact on us. The pets are REALLY happy with quarantine.

On the other hand, going to the grocery store makes me nervous. My fiance's job makes me nervous. The thought of returning to school in fall makes me nervous, especially if our pay is cut. I hate that I can't see my family or just walk around a craft store. I've had to completely reconfigure my everyday routine. Extroverts like me need our social interactions!

There are days when I am productive beyond belief. The whole apartment is clean, schoolwork done, book read, meals cooked, and a crafting project diligently worked on my lap. These days do happen, and it makes me feel like I've got this down. I feel like I can quarantine forever when I'm in this mode.

Then there are days when I don't change from pajamas. Answering emails is a struggle. I just want to fiddle with a game on my phone and be left alone. Sometimes I'll catch wind of a higher death count from one day to the next and wonder if my fiance will live through this pandemic. People working in hospitals are getting sick, with at least a few young ones dying already. Those days are the absolute worst. I am impossibly angry at people who put others' lives in danger.

Based on what I've read of other people, this has been normal for some. There's nothing to look forward to, no gatherings or festivals on the horizon, no meetings of friends in front of the reenacting cook fire. Our entire way of life has been turned upside down, like it or not. The switch in emotions, the fear. The anxiety. Juggling different needs just to move from one day to the next.


My life is the feather
Frank Leslie's Monthly 1860

I want this to be over, but I want everyone to be safe. I look forward to the day I can go hug my Mom or bother Glenna Jo and Bill for an hour. My reenacting family. All of it. I've no idea what this world will look like when it's all said and done. Different, to be sure. Quarantine has certainly been an interesting time. 

Stay Safe, Friends!

~Kristen

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Punch Paper: A Monthly Challenge

The first meeting of the great punch paper minds was a success! We discussed originals, reproductions, and the like. I enjoyed the company, as well as the ideas. If you're interested in joining my new punch paper group, click on the link below:


Here's a wonderful thing that's risen from the meeting: A monthly project! Just something small, practically a trifle. The requirements will be loose because I want everyone to jump in feet first without limitations. You can do reproductions of originals, modern interpretations, or do something wacky, so long as you use the medium of punch paper.


It's a crazy time out there right now. I've been feeling isolated and distant from my favorite history people. I know others feel the same, so I like that we have the opportunity to give each other a gift. To show one another that we care with a bookmark or stamp case. There's a thousand ways to make someone smile with this stuff. I'm pumped! I have a few originals in my collection that I'm excited to replicate.

No photo description available.

Take care everyone, and I look forward to seeing what you create!

~Kristen

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Costume On Weekend #1

Whew! What a rush! This past weekend was my first opportunity to participate in an online conference. Let me just say, it was awesome! Chantal is an excellent organizer, and that's coming from me. A fellow organizer. Her backup plans to her backup plans had backup plans. I was quite impressed by how the whole thing went.

I taught classes on both 19th century jewelry, as well as punch paper. While I do love my jewelry (and have a ton of research to share), it's a large topic with a ton of information. Sometimes I feel like there's more than I can ever talk about! When I talk about punch paper, you practically hear me gush! I had the chance to show off my originals, my finished projects, and my ideas for the future. It was amazing to share my love of this craft with other, equally enthralled people.
It was so wonderful to share the classes with so many people. There is actually a second weekend coming up, so if you missed it the first time around, here's your chance! They're offering more classes too! Click here to register. I will be teaching this class again, along with a shorter seminar about how to navigate online resources. There will be a lounge area for hanging out too! I've already set aside my whole weekend just for this.

Also, since I had a surge of interest in punch paper, I restarted my facebook group. There's 100+ people in there, and I've started my first giveaway. Click here if you want to join the FB page. I'm excited to share the things that get me all pumped about punch paper. The antiques. The ideas. The projects. The fun of it all! It's so funny that we can all connect when we are so far away.

Stay well, my friends!

~Kristen

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Support the History Community during Quarantine!

Quarantine is kind of a bummer. No, it is definitely a bummer. I'm slightly losing my mind as my fiance works long hours and I'm unable to visit my friends or do my outside history stuff. Being an extrovert is not the best during a quarantine!

But I realize just how absolutely lucky I am. My jewelry business, while important to me, is one of three jobs I work. It's more of a side job that lets me do cool things. There are many people who are not in the same boat, and my heart breaks for them. The loss of vending during a reenacting season could mean the end of a small business. The loss of yearly fundraisers could cause a museum to close its doors forever. A bummer for me is a complete game-changer for others.

This is why I decided to put this list together. Whether or not you personally believe the quarantine is necessary, we can all agree that we can all do something small every day to help keep reenacting alive. While donating financially is a huge help, there are other ways to get involved. Every little bit aids in keeping the doors open for so many people when this is over.

Aid Small Businesses
First and most importantly, we should try to support financially. Money in the bank keeps these small businesses opened. But it is completely understandable that you are also in a similar situation. No worries! You power as a consumer actually makes quite a difference.

-Buy items from them! Or gift cards
-Like/share all products that you see on social media
-Leave positive reviews
-Post pictures of yourself using their product
-Send kind words via messenger

Help Cancelled Events
As someone who is personally affected by this, I feel this pain. People spend over a year planning an event, just to cancel for the safety of others. It is very disheartening, and feels like your work was for nothing. In reality, most of us want those events to keep going. Show the organizers that you would like it to continue!

-Donate part of your registration if possible
-Contact the organizers and offer kind words
-Like and follow their page on social media
-Plan for next year and recruit others to go with you
-Offer to help with the next event in some way

Give back to Museums/Historic Sites
-Participate in their online events. In the past, many museums have looked at attendance to support their calls for funding. They say: "we had x number of people in the past year." Those numbers are going to be waaay down. Visit the page. Watch the LIVE video. Give them those numbers electronically. They will eventually use that data in the future.

-Donate money to museums/site
-Buy from their gift shop
-Like/share any online posts
-Offer any tech help if needed
-Join their volunteer group/plan for it
-Start a fundraiser on FB: Even a small goal helps!

Become a Patron
Patreon is a lovely online community that allows people to financially support artists. My friends Cheyney and Anna have one, and I think it is wonderful that we have an opportunity to support their art. You have the option of donating once, or doing monthly payments. $1-3+ a month is a very inexpensive but effective way to support these individuals! Research is not the most lucrative of jobs, and many of the events will not happen this year. Imagine if everyone dedicated at least $10 a month to an individual who does such work for the community...oh the possibilities!
Here I am, in my Regency Patron of the Arts ensemble

Participate in Online Communities: FB/Blogs/Etc.
Comment, share, like. Show the organizer/mods that this is still a thriving community that must continue. Contribute content if you can. Visit the blog and show them that you are reading. The internet is a big source of entertainment/information for many people right now, so let's keep those sites busy!
Post all the food pics

-Share a picture or project that relates to the group
-Comment/like other people's work
-Participate in any educational video activities
-Invite other like-minded individuals to join

So...How Much is Enough?
That is entirely up to you. I try to do something to support someone in the community electronically several times a day. Once a week I try to purchase something small from a history based business. I support Patreons monthly. And I'm already planning on speaking for a local history museum sometime this summer to help them be more proactive with their online presence.

BUT...these are all just suggestions. You may be the friend that helps a business owner with orders, or sends supportive personal messages to the volunteers of a reenacting group. How you help depends on your situation, but your willingness to do so makes all the difference.

So in these times of trouble...be good, folks.

~Kristen

Monday, April 20, 2020

An Online Conference: Costume On!

I county myself as very lucky during my time in quarantine. I've been able to stay home and safe while we ride out the storm that is coronavirus. My fiance's work still makes me anxious, but I think I've begun to build some coping skills over the past month. Distractions are wonderful! As are long walks with the dog. Recently though, I've decided to participate another conference-online!

Chantal is a costumer from California that took one look at all the event cancellations and put her foot down. There must be learning! Thus Costume On was born, complete with 18 online seminars/workshops. I will be teaching classes on punch paper and jewelry, but there is a variety available. You can select a class a la carte from the list and take as many as you would like. It is a wonderful idea, and I appreciate the efforts to promote social distancing too!



So if you're hanging out over the next few weeks and are looking for something cool to do, here's your chance! I've already registered for a class, and plan on taking another!

Stay safe and Costume On!

~Kristen

Thursday, April 16, 2020

An Etruscan Hand Screen

Part of my quarantine plan is to spend some time looking over my primary sources. I love reading the stories, catching recipes, and just taking a deep breath of history, even if it is electronic. Click here if you're looking to do the same, as I've compiled a digital list of sources I use often. Have fun going down the rabbit hole!

In the meantime, I keep finding little projects that I'd love to try. This hand-screen is a good example of something I absolutely DON'T NEED. Usually I'm reenacting outside in the elements, so much like my punch paper, I'd be terrified I'd ruin it. Even when I'm presenting in a house, I'm typically too busy to be fanning myself. Also, I'm probably eating, which means I shouldn't be fanning.

Nevertheless...I desire to make such a trifle.



I'm also somewhat interested in turning this into a rug. Why yes this quarantine is driving me down the road to insanity! Beep beep!

Kristen

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Quarantine Kristen

Since my last post I've had time to think, to ruminate about the virus that's infiltrated our lives and robbed us of our freedom. I've not left our apartment for more than a grocery run and a dog walk, so I've really been able to reflect about the quarantine and how I feel about it. Have to say I'm not a fan!

It's still building steam here in Michigan. We went from a few cases, to hundreds, to thousands. Our death count is currently at 1,487 with 24,638 people infected. The predictions are quite dire, and I can't imagine another day when 205 people die. There is hope that the aggressive social distancing has made an impact, and we will slowly start to see those numbers drop. My fiance works in the medical field, and it took me about two weeks to sleep okay. I was terrified something might happen to him, and no amount of melatonin would help me. When he continued to be his slightly ornery self I felt better.

The governor ended the school year, so I will be teaching online for the foreseeable future. Just when I started to recover from my lack of sleep, I had lesson plans and emails to attend to. Sometimes I'll read a chapter from a book to my students on Google Hangout. I think they're getting antsy, based on the fact that they all suddenly want to email me to say hey.

I am finally starting to feel like myself again. I'm working on projects, doing yoga, and walking the dog as much as possible. I'll probably finish my second book soon too. Creatively I'm starting to do different things. Rug hooking has been a favorite, along with paper collage. I have some ideas for a third book that may come to fruition, though we'll see how long quarantine lasts.

We've not come to a decision yet about the conference. While there is hope we may be released from quarantine in the next month, it is difficult to plan. I'm throwing around some ideas as of now, but we'll see what we can work with when the time comes. I'm cautiously optimistic, if not a little tired still. As soon as I get enough information, I'll let everyone know the plan.

I hope you're all staying safe and healthy. It's a crazy COVID world out there, and I plan on seeing you on the other side of this!

~Kristen

Current Mood

Quarantine has been a funny time in this household. The days seem to mesh together in one long, uninterrupted Saturday. I am currently teach...