Sunday, December 29, 2013


Well, as I am shifting gears lately into different SCA activities, I decided that I should follow through on an idea I have had for a while and get myself a bag to carry things in. Now, this is actually a bit of a bleed over from my mundane life, where I have spent the past eighteen months or so putting together an EDC (every day carry) bag for myself. My mundane bag is a little bit of everything based on my time in the emergency services, security, IT, and as a parent. I don't want to reproduce that for the SCA, but the idea of conveniently having the things I am most likely to use at an event on hand, and in a period container, definitely appeals to me.

So, lets see what I have come up with.

This is a simple, heavy messenger bag composed of heavy canvas (compliments of my in-laws for Christmas). About the only thing on it that is't period is the adjuster on the left side of the strap in this photo, and at this point, I just don 't care. Its a good solid bag, and I like it.

The first thing I did on it was cut out the Velcro from under the cover flap, it really doesn't need it, and I didn't want it on there in the first place. The overall dimensions are about 16 x 12 x 3 (as I recall) and the stitching is well done and heavy.

While I'm not supposed to say that I know how much this was, I'll say it for you're benefit, you can get this exact bag for less than $15.00 at Hobby Lobby. Also, a quick search for "messenger bags" on Google will turn up a host of possibilities for you.

One of the things I want to do with this bag (next, anyway), is to paint my badge on the cover flap. My wife is optimistic that it can be done with paint, but I am curious if it might require a different fabric to be painted on, and then stitched over the front.

Lets take a look at what we have inside.

One of the things you need to understand with this is what I want it to do.

1. I'm not giving up on heralding, event voice heralding, but I am concentrating on other things within the field. There really isn't anything materialistically I need for voice heraldry that I don't already have so... that's covered. I am, however making sure to have tools for notes, drawing, and even basic armory submissions handy.

2. Scroll painting. Charter illumination was one of my first activities in the SCA, even before voice heraldry. I'm hardly peerage level in my quality of work, but it is something that I do, that I count myself good at, and something that contributes to others enjoyment of the SCA as they receive my scrolls.

3. Knife Throwing. This may seem somewhat askew from my other hobbies, but I have dabbled in it in the past, and wanted to get more proficient in the skill lately.

4. Note taking. This isn't a small item, really. After 15 years in the society, and working as a herald, a journalist, a blogger, and a regional officer, the ability to just pull out a pad of paper and take notes is a life saver on so many levels.

So, what do we actually have?

My lady wife was good to me this year, and gifted me with a full paint set, brushes, watercolor paper and a paint tray.

The tray (top left) is sturdy, large, and actually has enough spots for all of my colors.

The paints (top right) are a twenty-four color set, with only a very few that are non-period pigments. I tend to stick mostly to the base colors anyway, but it will be nice to have options as I get better. The hope here is to eventually put a small measure of all of the paints in the tray and then be able to leave the tubes at home. But for right now, they all go in the bag.

The tablet of paper (bottom right) is bleach white watercolor paper for practice and color matching. I'm not one hundred percent sure how much I will use it, but it doesn't take up much room at all in my bag.

The brushes (bottom left) are a new set, with everything from the big broad all the way down to a collection of fine points. I still need to break them in, but they look like a workable set that I can make good use of.

The green brush roll is something I made myself with some leftover felt. I'll probably fill it out with some drawing tools and more brushes as time goes on, but this looked like a good, simple, quick project for me to put together, so I did. The roll is a bit bulky, but not overly so. I'm glad I have it, and I think it will do good to keep my brushes where I can see them and get to them.

Next is what I refer to as my "desk set". Simple really, its a small (and very mundane) sipper bag with a sharpie, some pens and two mechanical pencils. Basic writing implements, nothing more, really.

Also, I have a small notepad (9 x 5) of graph paper for both taking notes, and drawing... well, anything I need to.

Some things, well, they just don't need explaining, really.

These are a set of SOG brand throwing knifes I got from Wal*Mart (of all places) for a very nice $20.00. I've thrown them a few times, and they land... how shall we say... with "authority" when they hit.

Hell... if, God forbid, I had to use these things in a real life confrontation and threw them at someone, even if the handle were all that hit, it would ring their chimes something fierce.

Right now, the whole kit packs away rather neatly, and will probably get a lot lighter once I put my paints in their trays and stop carrying around all 24 tubes.. Even still, it isn't overly heavy. The knives go across the bottom, and the rest just sits on top of that. With the strap pulled over my far shoulder, the load if nothing compared to what I'm used to carrying with one of my mundane bags.

There are a few things that I am going to add to the bag over the next few weeks, but no rush for the moment.

1, Sunscreen. Short a sweet, I need it, people around me need it, and I'm probably going to need more of it as a hot event goes on.

2. Aloe lotion. Yeah, after last triumph, I got cooked enough to know that even with sunscreen, sometimes a little extra TLC is needed.

3. Some "Nice" pens. While I don't actually do calligraphy, I do enjoy the feel and weight of a good writing implement in my hand, and if I am writing something for someone else to read, I like to make it look more than just presentable. I don't know what I will look for specifically, but something better than a Bic ball-point would be nice.

4. Parchment. This isn't overly hard, but it's not cheep. I want to get a box of decent, heavy parchment for the express purpose of people able to pull out my bag and make a nice letter (letter of intent, lever of declaration... hell, I'll even write a small illumination love lever is the pay is good) for whatever a client might want.

Now, the truth of the mater is that this is a fun little bit of fluff within the north of the kingdom, I don't think there is actually any major push for this type of service in the north.It is something, however, that historical scribes, messengers and heralds did do, so its something I want to look into.

5. Playing cards. A friend of mine got me a desk of playing cards, and I'm thinking they should go in there. Cards are period, and I'm a halfway competent player in several games. I might like the ability to just pull out the desk and invite someone to join me.

6. A "fever kit". Short and sweet here, I have some mundane medical concerns that require nearly split second response. In point of fact, I have a perpetual condition (compliments of the scar tissue left behind after my cancer treatments concluded) where I can become dangerously feverish in less than 20 minutes. That is to say, In about the time it takes me to walk from one end of a camp site to another, I can go form 98.6 to 103 internal temperature. I have spoken with my doctors on this at some extended length, and have a very specific set of steps in place for when this happens next, including some very power medications. However, I will need a thermometer, and a small container with the first dose of pills on my person or close at hand at all times. This initial pose of pills can buy me the time to find help, rest, and the remainder of my gear (which includes the rest of my medications, as well as my cell phone to call and update the doctor).

I know this seems like a lot of personal information, and it is, but again, if you look at the definition of EDC, the point of the bag is to have most of what you reasonably will need on you for when you need it. My medical situation means that I will need these things in my at all times, so that are part of the SCA bag's EDC profile.

Okay, like I said, this is as much about my mundane EDC mentality as it is about the SCA and my role in it. But hey, if I can't show off cool stuff here, then what's the point, right?

So, thoughts?

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"