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 good, folks.


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!


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!


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!


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,...