(Life) Style Tips in October

October Life Style Tips

Apple season has finally fully arrived, and if you’re lucky enough to know an orchard nearby, go apple picking! Dry the peels for tea, and use them for divination, too, by peeling the apple in one long strip and throwing the skin over your shoulder – the letter it forms is the first letter to your answer.

Woman is at once apple and serpent.
– Heinrich Heine

Add a pinch of Folk Horror to your outfits by wearing chunky pentacles, old-fashioned black cat motives and ominous black hats. I personally like small bits of bone in my jewellery and silver hoop earrings. Hang a shawl next time you burn incense to take the mysterious scent with you.

Celebrate the Harvest with friends. Get together for a meal or two – it doesn’t necessarily have to be dinner, a brunch with a pumpkin pie, apple butter and self-made jam on pancakes is just as fine – and work in as much seasonal produce as you possibly can. Say your thanks to the deity of your choice or just each other and don’t forget about the immaterial harvest of the year, all that you have learned and achieved so far.

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Wear chunky cardigans, thrifted or self-made. Get a plain one and alter it to suit your aesthetic needs for the season – needle-felt swirling pumpkin vines or cross-stitch folk patterns onto it or add leather elbow patches. If you can’t find the right cardigan at the second-hand store, raid it (or the closets around you) for oversized sweaters to cut open, hem with ribbon and stitch big buttons onto.

Make potpourri with the roses you dried in July, or with cloves, apple peel (see above) and cinnamon sticks. Or you could make your whole closet smell like Autumn by sewing little sachets to fill with your potpourris and tossing them in your drawers.

“But when […] strong Orion begin to set [i.e. at the end of October], then remember to plough in season. But if desire for uncomfortable sea-faring seize you; when the Pleiades plunge into the misty sea [i.e. again towards the end of October] to escape Orion’s rude strength, then truly gales of all kinds rage.”
– Hesiod, Works and Days

Go watch the Orionids! The meteor shower peaks on the 21st, but they are active almost all month long. Combine with the harvest feast above and have a star theme for your food (pretty pie crusts spring to mind), go to a secluded spot with little light pollution around and lay down on thick blankets to watch the shooting stars with your loved ones.

(Life) Style Tips in September

September

Go foraging! Blackberries are still partially in season, as are elderberries (even though they aren’t exactly the yummiest thing to eat straight from the tree), and the first rose hips might be coming, as well. Nuts might still take a while, but a lot of edible greenery is still around. Find out what’s in season in the wild in your area and go out to gather the fruits of the land in your apron or pockets, or a pretty basket, if you want to. Just make sure not to trespass, disturb the local fauna or pick anything protected. Bonus points for taking a trash bag to collect litter you might encounter!

We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.
– Henry Rollins

Slowly transition to indoor exercise for the colder months. If you’ve been swimming a lot this might be the time to get a monthly pass for the indoor pool or even a gym subscription. If you’re not big on the idea of leaving the house for sports look into new yoga videos or just resort to dancing vigorously to your favourite obnoxious pop songs for ten minutes a day.

Get the pencil case you always wanted as a child or a teen that your parents wouldn’t let you have. Kitschy baby kittens? Edgy and covered in quotes from your favourite band? Classy leather to ripen with age? Fill it with the pens you wanted, too, gel, fancy fountain pens, glitter, crayons or markers. I could spend hours in front of stationery and office supply shelves, and I bet I’m not the only one.

Get into the whole “Back to School” vibe, even if you’ve been out of it for ages (like me). Plaid will never go out of style, as will burgundy, oxblood, navy and ivy green. Wear obscure enamel pins, Potter paraphernalia or glittery brooches as crests for imaginary boarding schools and channel your private-school-student-sona with polished leather shoes and a crisp white collar. Do yourself a favour and search for “Dark Academia” on the platform or engine of your choice for inspiration!

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
– John Keating in Dead Poets Society

Autumn cleaning. Much like Spring, it’s a good time to get rid of old things, to scrub everything clean and air out everything that needs it before rain and cold set in again. It’s all for the cosiest place during the cold months, and curling up in a clean burrow is so much nicer than in a messy one.

Treasures form ConQuest 2019

IMG_20190902_111236Disclaimer: If you’re a vegan and/or dislike the sight of bones and animal parts this might not be the post for you.

I haven’t done a simple look-what-I’ve-bought post on the blog in a long time. But while I absolutely love making thrift hauls, especially now that I loosely theme them rather than just throw things at the camera, I also love taking pictures and making things pretty little still lives. As the title of this post says these are what I brought back from this year’s ConQuest (the biggest LARP in Germany). I always adore shopping there, in and out of character, as the in-game market is huge and has such wonderful and unique treasures to be found.

IMG_20190902_112209My friend and immediate-boss-on-Thursdays Tarquin and I often joke that our friendship is based on parts of dead animals because we both enjoy the untamed quality of bones and taxidermy and irregularly gift each other things that fall into this category – teeth, skins, chicken feet, stuff like that. Luckily at ConQuest there are several stalls selling these things, and one of them didn’t only sell bones – the tiny vertebra above is about the size of my thumb’s nail – but also old glass beads. I put two of my old dreadlocks back in and now wear the clear glass rings around them, like quartz or solid bits of water.

IMG_20190902_112457This cup wasn’t bought so much as found at one of the dumpsters on the grounds. Aren’t the acorn details darling? The tiny flasks were a gift from the Scoundrel who only visited for a day and didn’t stay for the game itself, but found time to pick up a parcel of jewellery for his merchant character, and these were part of it.

IMG_20190902_111116Spinning wool is something I haven’t bought in ages, but the boyfriend got into felting recently and I might either spin this or use it on some unsuspecting bit of woollen clothing. Either way I purchased it with copper pieces rather than out-of-game money and was very happy to part with those coins for these strands.
The little cup isn’t actually a cup but rather an old coffee filter, perforated at the bottom and with a likewise perforated piece inside. I’ve been wanting something to make coffee with without breaking the ambience in camp, so this is ideal. I got it from a lovely French seller who explained to me how to use it, too, and I’m happy to report that it works wonderfully.

IMG_20190902_111408There’s one stall where I linger a lot each year, and I decided that I might take home a piece annually. Last year I bought a hare’s foot there that actually gets worn by my character, and this year I decided on a badger’s hind paw. Those are quite a bit smaller than the front paws which looked ridiculous on me, but I’m of course in love nevertheless.
The femur (I’m guessing rabbit) is from the other stall with the beads mentioned above and I wore it in my hair. While it was a character thing at first I think I might do that in my everyday life, too, it makes me feel like a feral fae who just by chance wandered into the modern world and decided to stay without abandoning her wild ways.
IMG_20190902_111454The wing is a pheasant’s – I’ve wanted a preserved wing for some time now and I might add a handle of sorts or a sling to hang it at my altar. I’m already curious for the treasures this stall might bring next year.

IMG_20190902_111654And last but not least I bought these metal ornaments at a stall that sells so many of these I had a hard time deciding which ones to get. The round one is Trif’s, whom I play at ConQuest, the other ship is for a character I’m still planning and I might fake-enamel the sails at some point, and the thistle is just for myself (and if you watch my videos you might know why).

I couldn’t for the life of me remember the names of the other two stalls mentioned, and of course, I bought traditional sweets (I always do, and the stall is at our local historic yule market as well – they know me by now) and wild rose wine, but the former are already gone and the wine is rather tasted than seen.

Do you enjoy shopping at renaissance faires, medieval markets and artisan shows? Have you had any luck there this year? And which of my treasures is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

(Life) Style Tips in August

Once again the month is almost over – August is a particularly bad one, I’m so occupied with coming back from ConQuest and getting back to a state of mind where I don’t feel over-humaned (the state where you get anxiety at the mention of any social activities) that I forget everything else that isn’t a basic function or work.

aUGUSTHowever, there are still some notes for August left, so let’s use these golden days well! ♥

August was nearly over – the month of apples and falling stars, the last care-free month for the school children. The days were not hot, but sunny and limpidly clear – the first sign of advancing autumn.
Victor Nekrasov

In the spirit of my favourite Summer activity, camp out, even only for a day! Just like a picnic, but with more comfy equipment, get some blankets and pillows, your favourite pyjamas or nightgown, maybe a tarp if you’re wary of rain and spend the night or at least most of the evening outside. Whether on a balcony or in a garden doesn’t matter, what matters are the stars overhead and a good book or a beloved comfort movie. Also maybe snacks.

Speaking of snacks, make dried apple rings in the sun if it’s still hot enough for that! Put them on a lined baking tray and put them on the window sill to dry. You might want to add sugar or cinnamon depending on the apple variety – some of the early ones are fairly sour – or leave them natural. Store them in cookie tins or pretty jars and snack them during the Winter months.

Although we are necessarily concerned, in a chronicle of events, with physical action by the light of day, history suggests that the human spirit wanders farthest in the silent hours between midnight and dawn. Those dark fruitful hours, seldom recorded, whose secret flowerings breed peace and war, loves and hates, the crowning or uncrowning of heads.
Joan Lindsay, Picnic at Hanging Rock

Watch Picnic at Hanging Rock during a hazy day when it’s too hot to do anything else. Make an event out of it, make everyone wear exclusively white, have sandwiches and later fall asleep outside under a tree.

Generally, wear white (or very light colours) for an entire day to feel like a turn-of-the-century upper-class person. There are indefinite shades of white to choose from and be it historically-inspired, Lolita, Mori Kei or simply linen pants and a white button-down, it will make you feel fresh and incredibly fancy. Bonus points for a straw hat or fresh flowers for accessories!

 Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.
– Henry Fielding

To top it all off make yourself some iced tea – the internet is full of recipes. There is the Deep South Sweet Tea (here’s a cocktail version, as well), the simple iced cold-brew (with peaches – yum) and the iced Chai, to start with. I also want to try my way through the lion’s share of this recipe list.

(Life) Style Tips in July

JulyLifestyleFold Paper Stars outside. The Perseids might be still a month away but you might as well make your own meteor shower until then. Here’s a well-drawn tutorial, and here’s the story behind these Lucky Stars. Put them in the traditional star, string them up or push them onto a wire to make a star crown. Glow-in-the-Dark paper or paint spots could be a fantastic addition, as would be glitter paper.

When I think of it, the picture always rises in my mind, of a summer evening, the boys at play in the churchyard, and I sitting on my bed, reading as if for life.
– Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Make a Summer Reading List, whether you’re still in school or not. Summer days by the beach or on the way to your holiday location are perfect to catch up on all the books you might have hoarded with the declared intention of definitely someday reading them. This might be the day.

Change your shoelaces for the Summer – something bold and colourful or a glittery metallic to harken back to childhood, or maybe satin ribbons to make floppy bows with for a dash of nostalgia. If you use ribbon that won’t fit through the eyelet at first bind it down with some washi tape for easier threading or seal edges of polyester fabric with a lighter.

Cakes are healthy too, you just eat a small slice.
Mary Berry

Try rose-based food making! They should be in full bloom now so you can either collect your own petals or use rose water – easily obtained in an international or middle eastern Supermarket. Some recipes to water your mouth are this Rose Angel Food Cake, this Rose Ice Cream – alternatively this Honey and Rose one – and for the really hot days this Rose Lemonade and Rose Moon Milk for the colder ones.

If you haven’t eaten them all, dry roses for Winter. Not only will they be a bundle of Summer memories over your desk but also pretty storage should you want to make any of the Rose recipes above off-season. Tie them up with a pretty ribbon, your summer laces or a strip of torn fabric (for added dramatic flair).

Anti-Banality Emergency Kit

106_7338A few posts ago I mentioned how I enjoy making little themed care packages for my friends far away. The latest of these packages went to my lovely Verdinium. I started putting it together after she mentioned a horrid surge of Banality – the very opposite of what I’d call my personal life essence and a term from my favourite game background – in her life. I simply couldn’t let that happen, so I made an emergency kit.

It contains a magic cup and spoon, instant Glamour (just add water) and refill sachets and a patch full of celestial bodies to remind her of the dreams we’re made of.

106_7333Mere mortals might see a bit of junk and some packets of sherbet powder, but this right there is magic. Remember how these things worked when you were a kid? They still do, you just have to let them. And I hope the emergency kit helps.

106_7335Short PSA at the end: Photos might become a rarer thing for a while here as my camera just broke – there’s a big crack in the display and it’s kinda hard to know what you’re doing photography-wise without seeing it. I’m going to try to make it work or use the phone until I take the plunge and upgrade to a better camera again, but just in case that doesn’t work out so well, I wanted to let you know.