Summer 2013

So I suppose I owe the internet an update! I successfully completed my thesis and graduated with merit from the University of Glasgow! It seems ages ago now that I was over in the UK but I guess it wasn’t really all that long ago. Since graduation I’ve been keeping busy with volunteering and I recently completed an internship at the Agnes Etherington Art Center on Queen’s University campus. I assisted with a risk assessment and a condition survey of the costume collection they have there and it truly was a dream! It was such a shame that it was so short! I love to work with the collection and the institution in the future! Also, Kingston was awesome. I very quickly settled in and took advantage of the wonderful community they have there.

Currently I’m interning at the Canadian Conservation Institute and doing some work in private practice on the side! I’m continuing to apply for all the textile conservation jobs that I can and I’m eager to hear back from the institutions I’ve written to over the past month. It looks to be  busy summer!

I’ve also been able to find some time to sew a dress or two – a couple of n vintage vogue pattern reprints and a trapeze dress. Hopefully I’ll get a post or two up on them soon! Also I planted peas which is turning out to be an increasingly satisfying endeavor.

Take care Dear Readers, I’ll write again soon.

image
Hemming!

Thesising

My life is focused on my thesis right now. I basically want to get it done as soon as humanly possible so I can get started on my adult life! How exciting is the prospect of not being a student! I’m never spent a significant amount of time not a student. I worked my university summers of course but it’s just not the same. I’ve whined and complained about living a temporary life for years. And now I’m so close to settling in and committing to all the things I want to do…. as soon as I get this thing written!!!!

I’m trying to organize my thoughts here.

I also picked up some of this basil the other day. Who knew basil was so British!

Bread and some other stuff

I made some bread! It’s still cooling so I haven’t tried it yet but it looks pretty good!

Ok I just tried it and yup, it’s as good as it looks! I bit salty though. I uncharacteristically followed to recipe’s amount of salt but next time I think I’ll reduce it to a teaspoon. I also replaced half a cup of the white flour with whole wheat because and everyday loaf HAS to have whole wheat. Only special occasion loaves can have all white flour. It’s a rule, go look ti up. I also just cooked it in a regular stock pot because my ceramic dutch oven is at home (boooo!). I did have to take off the plastic handle so they wouldn’t melt but it worked out fine! Here‘s the recipe in case you’re interested.

I also just watched a really interesting short film on youtube. It features Kelsey Freeman from Daily Reenactor. I think she has other photography/travel site(s) but I only follow her tumblr so I’m not familiar with them. I admire Kelsey for her outreach efforts about the hobby although I do feel that she and I are looking for different things from the hobby. The film is titled No Time Like the Past. It’s really interesting and, to my untutored eye, has pretty good production values for a student film. It’s about half an hour but if you have the time you should check it out.

And, of course, I have some opinions about some of the things that were said. Well mostly the things that Will Ritcher said. I will agree that the way that reenacting has evolved into the hobby that it is today has produced some inherent issues. But criticizing reenactors because it they are not capable of time travelling to actually experience the past is unfair and an over-simplification of a complex issue. This line “oh they’re just pretending” is not accurate to why reenactors reenact and deliberately downplays the important role that reenactors can play in preserving different aspects of history. I guess I haven’t been around in the hobby long enough to meet those that I feel I can fairly criticize for their lack of respect because I’m sure they’re out there but just because they exist doesn’t mean all reenactors share the same attitude. I also found his perspective  to be overly focused on the military aspects of reenacting. Clearly as a (former?) member of the US armed forces, the military is and was a big part of his perspective but I felt that many of his comments are skewed by this perspective. It’s interesting how the film juxtaposes his negative comments against his Urbex-ing techniques that clearly drawn on his own personally “historical” military training from his past as a member of the armed forces. And I just have to say it: I call myself a reenactor and generally pursue the hobby in a typical weekend-at-a-fort sort of way and I still have no interest in carrying a gun thanks. That doesn’t make me any less of a reenactor! Reenactors are a diverse group of people and anyone watching the film would certainly see that!

Royal Mail, Royally Annoying

So I’ve ordered my books from amazon. I received most of them easily enough. The majority of them came together in a package that mysteriously appeared in front of my dorm room door. The sole remaining book was not delivered, instead one of those "sorry we missed you!" cards was left in my mail box. Since the branch I was supposed to go get my packages from has the weirdest hours I’ve ever seen, I was only able to go this morning, a week after the card appeared in my mail box. I get there at a11:30, an hour before they’re supposed to close to find the branch.. closed. Of course. It did look more like a distribution centre than a post office which might explain the odd hours. It’s totally weird.

Well I went on the Royal Mail website to try and figure this out. I discovered I can request a free re-delivery for a particular day. So that’s what I did. Hopefully next saturday I’ll receive my package. I still don’t know how I should expect to hear from them. It’s not like they can come and ring the doorbell! I might have to camp out in the lobby with a good book and wait and see. I’m determined to get my book!

In other news I altered my lab coat last night. I still have to add the sleeves back on but I’ll post here with a full report. It’s much improved!

Ahhh Residence… So restful

We had a fire alarm at 2am last night. Of course it had to be the night before my first day of classes. I was kinda nervous as well so what little sleep I had was restless. Honestly I was tempted to stay in my room when the alarm went off, since invariably the fire alarms are cause by someone’s stupidity. However, the alarms were just too piercing for that. It took half an hour for things to get sorted out. Thank goodness it wasn’t raining!

Well enough whining, I had class today! My first class was Principles and Practice with our chemistry professor. The class structure is different here. During my undergrad we had classes that occurred Monday-Wednesday-Friday at the same time for 50 minutes or Tuesday-Thursday for 80 minutes. I usually had 5 classes a term and one prof fro each class and each class was structured individually. Here I only have three classes a term. Two of them only last 2 hours a week while the third, Principles and Practice occurs three mornings a week and Friday afternoons. It’s also taught by two different professors with two areas of focus, chemistry and practical skills. The course texts are somewhat interchangeable and everything is sort or interconnected. I have all my classes with the same people since we textile students don’t have any electives. It’s a very different way of organizing things and I don’t know if that’s because this is postgraduate studies or because it’s a new institution for me. Everything is hard copy as well. There’s very little web-based document exchange. This is very different from Laurier where pretty much everything is posted online. That as well will take some getting used to since last year I was pretty much glued to my laptop.

Class was very fun this morning. We just generally looked at some objects and discussed how we might treat them etc. No scary chemistry – yet! I totally feel like I can handle this now. I’m so looking forward to this semester!

Also, I am throwing myself a Thanksgiving party in a few weeks. I need to figure out if I can buy a small turkey. I’ve seen chickens and geese in the grocery stores but no Turkeys. Hmmm…

Also I’m so tempted to go on the study day that Foundations Revealed is hosting. I’m here I might as well take advantage of it! I’ll have to miss some classes but it’s such an opportunity!  Real-life victorian Corsets! I’ll have to talk to my profs about it since I’d be missing two full days of classes at least.

Settling In

I’m getting more comfortable in my new city. I can travel confidently on the subway (but don’t ask me about the buses!) and I’m managing to get my errands completed with a minimum of fuss. I’m even baking! It didn’t take me long to get acquainted with my oven. Even simple things like the oven and stove are completely new to me. I had a hard day yesterday where the newness of everything overwhelmed me, but I’ve reminded myself that everything is fine, there’s been no major screw-ups or issues that have not been resolved. I’ve set high standards for myself without even realizing it and I need to remember to relax and go with the flow. I knew this experience would be especially hard in some ways for me and while this has been proven true, I’ve kept moving forward.

Ok enough navel-gazing! I went to see a castle on Friday! It’s not a super old one, its most recent re-build was in the 18th century, but to my Canadian eyes it still had admirable antiquity. I must admit the complete absence of any medieval remnants in the city has disappointed me. Mind you, there’s a 17th century clocktower down the street from me so that’s pretty cool…

The castle I visited was Culzean (Pronounced cully-anne) castle. It was owned my a scottish noble family called the Kennedeys. A lady of the Kennedey was lady-in-waiting to Mary Queen of Scots apparently and the family first held the title of earl then marquess. I only took a few pictures but I thought I’d post them here.

 

I’ve done a little bit of sewing but nothing interesting enough to post about.

I just had a really irritating meeting on safety which could basically be condensed to “don’t be stupid” but since the majority of the people in the building are first years, it has to be said. I really hope that it wasn’t a mistake to chose to live here. It would have been so much better to live in a post-graduate only residence!