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I would like to offer a hearty hello to my fellow Æthelmearc Gazette readers from Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon. As you may recall (if you’ve been around many years), I once wrote a weekly column for SCAdians and other history buffs. Different folks called it different things, including Aoife’s Links, Lis’s Links List, The Historic Links List, etc. and it was even curated by the SCA Librarians website. Together those places managed to generate well over a million reads (and probably many more that I was unable to track).

Those long-ago columns have been preserved in many places, but are sadly out of date. Now that our Sylvan Kingdom has its own unofficial online newspaper, I thought perhaps it would be a good time to resurrect that column. In the time since we last enjoyed each other’s company, the Internet has changed sufficiently that no one needs my personal email address in order to read my column, and that makes me happy. Why? Because I will no longer be on an automatic distribution list for all those exotic new worldwide computer viruses as my columns are shared (the reason I ceased writing the column). That makes for a happy computer and a happier Aoife/Lisbeth.

With no further ado, I present to you my first Gazette edition of the Links list, this one themed on gift giving for any holiday or occasion. I have reformatted the links so that they will be useful for those who wish to use them as sources for scholarly work. Scroll down to see what you might find especially enjoyable to create for your celebrations. Each link shows how to make something special, and none of the links are solely for the winter holidays. Keep it on hand for birthdays, gift swaps, tourney chest prizes, hostess gifts, and the like.

Please feel free to share this column wherever it will find an interest. May your days be merry and bright, but hold the snow for now, please!

Cheers ~ Aoife
Æthelmearc Gazette Esoterica & Links Editor
Dame Aoife Finn from The Barony of Endless Hills (m/k/a Lisbeth Gelatt)

Ties That Bind…A Book
Zerkall, Alex. Medieval Book Binding. Trainee Archive Conservator blog at WordPress.com. Retrieved 11/15/2014 from:
bookThis conservator’s website shows, in exquisite detail, one trainee conservator’s emulation of medieval bookbinding. Big, gorgeous pictures will take you through the steps. It is clear, precise, and informative, down to the leather-covered wooden plates. His other posts are also worthy of a long look. This is how the professionals do it.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Pseudo_pix, Medieval London Hood, blogpost on Crafster Forum, retrieved on 11/15/2014 from:
This image-heavy blog post features the steps to make a beautiful bicolor medieval hood with a button neck closure and a folded-rim cowl. The instructions and photos make it a simple afternoon project that will keep your intended recipient warm at events all winter. It’s got style and substance. Just a suggestion, but wouldn’t it look terrific with embroidery or trim on the folded cuff?

Strike A Cord
Crickmore, Ingrid. Loop Braider, a blog on WordPress. Retrieved 11/15/2014
This site, with generous videos, diagrams, and instruction, will have you making braidbeautiful fingerloop braids of infinite varieties. What do you need to do it? Two things: string, and fingers. That’s it. Cords like these make beautiful package decorations, binding for small purses and large bags, hair ties, friendship bracelets, medallion ribbons, shoelaces, corset strings, soutache braid for garb decoration, you name it!

Be Ypocritical
Hyatt, Constance, and Butler, Sharon as quoted by Matterer, J.L.
Potus Ypocras as found on Gode Cookery. Retrieved 11/15/2014 from:  http://www.godecookery.com/goderec/grec41.htm
This mixture of warm wine, honey or sugar, and sweet spices will warm the cockles of your recipient’s heart (and other low points, as my Cockney ancestors would say). The already redacted recipe, the pre-mixed sweetener and spices, and a lovely gift bag is a no-fuss gift idea that will assemble quickly and be remembered for years. Medieval hostess gifts, solved!

Throw In The Dowel
Mackenzie, David. Kubb Movement Game, on the Get Woodworking blog. Retrieved on 11/16/2014 from:
The Norse game of Kubb or Kubbspell dates back a thousand years, and is reminiscent of skittles, using sticks and blocks on a set playing field. The object, of course, is to knock the other team’s pieces all to heck. Use this great posting to build your own game (minimal woodworking skills but some hand or power tools required). Painting and carrying case instructions are also provided. It even tells you how to play!

Bank On This
Ahlen, Cathrin. Norwegian Money Purse Tutorial found at the Katafalk blog, WordPress. Retrieved 11/16/2014 from:
purseThe design for this simple improvement on a circular pouch made me think of pursed lips, pun intended. When you see the design you will understand how lips can be pursed like a purse. Based upon an extant example from the 13-14th century, this pouch is meticulously constructed in a series of well-ordered photographs that show how any mildly talented person could make something special by repurposing an old, soft leather jacket or any pliable leather (and perhaps some heavier fabrics). Regardless, it is a clever design that is simple to accomplish, and elegant in presentation. I especially like the fact that it has a flat bottom surface. Maybe you could use some of that finger loop cord you made (see link, above) as the wrap or for the purse strings.

Cap It Off
Heischberg, Melissa. The Flat Cap, from the blog Sempstress, Costume and Pattern Geekery.
Retrieved 11/22/2014 from: http://www.sempstress.org/2009/the-flat-cap/
This simple Tudor style flat cap, shown in construction with lots of great photos, is a fairly simple piece to construct. Suitable for both men and women (maybe with a snood or scarf), it is perfect as a period present for someone who likes to keep the details spiffy. The author, a professional costumer, has documented each step for you using a sewing machine, wool, and some binding tape.

Bake Someone Happy
These two links provide the recipes for some astoundingly delicious and historically accurate holiday cookies:
Day, Ivan. Wafer Making, Historic Food Blog. Retrieved 11/22/2014 from:  http://www.historicfood.com/Wafer.htm
wafersYou might recognize these wafers from their modern counterparts, Pizelles or Piroulines. Whether flat and decorative or rolled and filled, this blog post will fill you with inspiration for making the crispy, flaky goodness that is wafers. By reading the entire article, which documents later wafers as well, you’ll learn how wafers became cannelloni, waffles (which take their name from wafers), and also edible cornucopia and ice cream cones.

A Basket of Biscuits
(No Last Name), Kyriel. A Basket of Biscuits, in a journal posting titled Laurel Prize Tourney on Kiriel.net. Retrieved 11/22/2014 from:
This excellent documentation for a competition entry in 2005 just so happens to detail the making of several types of historic cookies (referred to as biscuits at the time, and modernly in Europe). Learn how to make Fine Cakes, Gingerbread, Jumballs, Bizochos, and Finer Jumballs. Why not present them, as Kiriel did, in a basket with a decorative dishcloth?