Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Very Krampus Christmas

When I'm not immersing myself in ridiculous amounts of research, jewelry making, or conference directing, I take a quick visit to my other job. And by other, I mean my 40+ hours per week time spent as a high school English/Spanish teacher. I pretty much roll out of bed at 4:30 roll in at about 11 every night. As Grandma Dolly would say; "a mover and shaker!"

But this story is not about me. It's about my students and their wonderful sense of humor.

You see, throughout the year we have doorway decorating contests. The teachers love to design adorable seasonal delights, using stickers and glitter and goodness. Needless to say, I skip the "cute" doorways with adorable little paper cutouts or dangling hearts. Around November 1st I usually bust out my Dia de los Muertos kit, complete with skulls and beckoning skeletons. Christmas is difficult. How do you make a holiday about giving and cheer "uncute?"

Amid the dainty drawn reindeer and designer wrapped presents, my students had one answer: Krampus. And boy did they run with it...
What's that you say?
What's a Krampus?
Oh, I see!
I spy a giving St. Nicholas. What happens if you're naughty?
Why yes when you open the door, Krampus licks the crying children...
He even tops the Christmas tree!
Inspiration for Gene Simmons?

I did a little digging too to find some of the history of our horned friend. The Smithsonian did not fail! Click here to learn more:

In fact, Krampus’ roots have nothing to do with Christmas. Instead, they date back to pre-Germanic paganism in the region. His name originates with the German krampen, which means “claw,” and tradition has it that he is the son of the Norse god of the underworld, Hel. During the 12th century, the Catholic Church attempted to banish Krampus celebrations because of his resemblance to the devil. More eradication attempts followed in 1934 at the hands of Austria’s conservative Christian Social Party. But none of it held, and Krampus emerged as a much-feared and beloved holiday force.
I kept finding Christmas cards with the monstrously delightful creature either beating or eating children. My only hope is that our door inspired good behavior in my students! Regardless, I enjoyed talking about different holiday traditions with them. They read stories, looked at primary sources, and compared/contrasted them with out own culture today. I am slowly creating a world of researchers, I promise.

Also, we horrified  educated the teachers who chose to do snowflakes or adorable reindeer. 'Tis the season! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and just enjoy your life for the rest of 2017!


Monday, December 4, 2017

Domestic Skills Symposium 2018

What another awesome year! It was quite unfortunate that I found myself sniffling, coughing, and even losing my voice. For those of you who have been within 10 feet of me, you know I love to certainly made me more observant of my surroundings. A quiet Kristen can be quite dangerous!

After a quick shortcut through Canada (why are all male Canadian border agents so good-looking? Is there something in the syrup?) we found ourselves in a snowy but beautiful community. Rochester NY appears fantastically like Michigan, so we fit right in!

My first workshop was paper marbling. The woman who taught the class was an amazing teacher, and I would definitely take a class with her again. I did an amazing job throwing stuff onto water and then putting paper onto the stuff on the water. Very descriptive, right? It looked a bit like a Rorschach test, which was fine. I know a handsome doctor who would put it up in his office one day....
My favorite piece that I did myself!

On Saturday we sat down to listen to the main speakers. This site does it right-the research, the questions, the primary source imagery. Also, food. They do food very well. By the end of it all I realized how much I love pickled vegetables and Dutch anything. Also, calico dances were a thing, an interesting thing, a very DON'T DO IT UNLESS YOU DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST sort of thing. But certainly fascinating! There wasn't a single moment that I was bored, though my busy hands cranked out a few butterflies/dragonflies.
I ate too much. Surprised?

On our last day Jennifer and I look a cheese basket class. NO, it was not underwater, but yes water is necessary for the process. I sort of understand that expression now. It was a little complicated, but again our teacher was an expert. She was so patient! And we certainly had a lot of questions. In the end I found myself with a finished basket and the skills to do more. I'm feeling some Christmas presents...

This conference gets me so psyched for our own in March! I draw inspiration from everything-the table placement, the AV equipment, even the vendor space. I've learned that learning is a 24/7 activity if you just open your eyes.

Genesee Country Village & Museum is an excellent host! Apart from my annoying cold, I enjoyed every bit of my trip. Please support these wonderful people and this educational opportunity.


Friday, November 17, 2017

85+ MORE Gift Ideas for the History Lover

It's that time of year again! My wish list for the history lover. The history lover being me, specifically. There's a mix of all time periods, things that I might ask for this year, or things you might want.

I do my best to support the small businesses in the reenacting communities. I'm also trying to publish earlier this year so you can hit any sales, as well as leave plenty of time for shipping.

These are separated by price. I totally understand if your budget is tight this year, or if you're look for small gifts for friends. Prices do not include shipping, as those can vary based on the entire order.

*Note: I've included some men's items this year. If I were a guy, I would want this stuff!

*Note: If you don't see something you like, check out the whole shop suggested in the link. I just realized how much Abraham Lincoln items that are in here. Those shops offer other presidents as well!

*Note: This list includes different time periods, and does not necessarily reflect progressive or period accurate items (ahem-please don't use the Jane Austen mug for Regency reenacting!). Also, the selection of the items from shops does not mean every item in that shop is appropriate for reenacting in your time period. Take care to do your research before making a purchase!

(Hey, the heart wants what it wants...)

Ghost Stories $15.50
$50 and under


On My Bookshelf: December

December has been a really rough month. Between what happened in Oxford (not far from where I live...) and just the general pandemic issues,...