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What is Steampunk?

Steampunk has been around much of the 19th Century, but has only been termed steampunk since K.W. Jeter called it such in the late 1980s in reference to a series of works by several authors including his own. What is steampunk exactly? Originating as a literary genre it is technically a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy usually set in a Victorian-type era with steam powered technology of a post-apocalyptic type future or fantasy world.

Starting as literary works Steampunk has moved from the pages of a book into the real world as people become more involved. There are steampunk games, movies, graphic novels, television shows, even music and performance art. Steampunk has even moved into a fashion for comic conventions and live action role playing. There are tons of clothing items with steampunk themes. Also jewelry and footwear. The style is like a modern twist on Victorian era with steam technology thrown in. Think gears, copper, brass, engraving, polished wood, etching, and glass. The more complex the details the better.

People have even begun to follow the steampunk theme in home décor and all aspects of life. If it can be altered to have a steampunk look it has been done, from small things like watches and clocks, to computers and lamps, all the way up to vehicles and whole homes done over with a steampunk theme.

Steampunk is also considered to have it’s own philosophy. Some consider the steampunk philosophy to be a combination of creativity and self-reliance with a Victorian-era-esc optimistic view of the future.

Are you looking to expand your Steampunk wardrobe? Here at Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe we have all the high quality steampunk clothing, jewelry, and footwear to meet all your needs! We even have steampunk clothing for little steampunk fans. Be sure to shop Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe’s Steampunk selections today! Custom sizing and fitting is available to make sure you look your best!

5 Tips for Throwing a Renaissance-Themed Party

There’s nothing like raising your goblet and cheering “Huzzah!” in celebration of the Renaissance, one of history’s most popular eras. If you don’t happen to have a Renaissance festival happening in your hamlet, throwing your own Renaissance-themed party is the next best thing. The following tips will help make your party one for the history books.

1. Send Out the Scrolls

Set your party’s theme by using calligraphy (or a calligraphy font) on parchment paper. Roll the invitations into scrolls and seal with sealing wax. Hand deliver or use small mailing tubes to send.

2. Ready Your Raiment

It’s not a Renaissance party without the right clothing. You can get great deals on authentic Renaissance faire clothing online. Encourage your guests to dress the part as well. Even if you don’t have full regalia, one or two clothing pieces can be enough to create an appropriate look.

3. Set the Scene

You don’t have to spend a king’s ransom. A few select touches are enough to create a Renaissance feel. For instance, put up wooden or parchment signs with calligraphy that say, “Pub,” or “Dining Hall,” and “Privy,” to direct guests to the appropriate rooms and use only candlelight. Hang tapestries or large swatches of colorful brocade fabrics.

4. Make Merry to Music

If you’re going to party like it’s 1599 you’re going to need music to match. Renaissance music covers a couple of hundred years so you have plenty of latitude if you’re striving for authenticity. However, instrumental Celtic music will also work fine or simply put on the “Game of Thrones” soundtrack.

5. Don’t Forget the Feast

Keep in mind that food was simple and hearty — and silverware wasn’t really a thing. Set out plenty of finger foods such as turkey legs, cheese slices, and bread, and keep the ale, wine, and cider flowing.

For a fun touch, consider party favors such as miniature wooden treasure chests filled with chocolate coins or bejeweled plastic goblets guests can drink from and take home.

Delicious Non-Alcoholic Renaissance Drinks Part 2

As we continue our series about non-alcoholic Renaissance drinks, we’re going to talk about some of the more ornate drinks. These drinks might be a little harder to replicate today, but with a little imagination and ingenuity, you can probably come up with a delicious recipe using today’s ingredients. When you are wearing authentic Renaissance period clothes, you will certainly complete the look with beverage that comes as close to what people actually drank back then. If you come up with any great recipes, or if you find any more Renaissance drinks, let us know in the comments section. Who knows – maybe we’ll have a Part 3, featuring your ideas!

  • Sekanjabin is a very exotic-sounding drink and it was made using a variety of sweet vinegar and sugar. We’ve never tried it, and although vinegar and sugar does not sound all that appetizing, it was quite popular during the Renaissance.
  • Honey has been a wonderful beverage ingredient for so many years, it seems! During the Renaissance, there was no shortage of honey in drinks. One of the most popular drinks to use honey was called Clarea of Water. This drink was a mixture of water, honey, and various types of spices, depending on what was local. The ingredients were mixed together and boiled. The drink would be cooled before it was served.
  • We thought we’d conclude our series with a quick and easy recipe for a drink that is just as popular now as it was back then: Rose/Lavender soda! This recipe comes from a cookbook dating back to around 1400:
    • 1 part rose/lavender petals
    • 2 parts water
    • 2 parts sugar/honey
    • Soak a number of petals in a pitcher of water holding twice as much water as petals for one night. Press, but not squeeze, the water from the petals and reuse them as needed. Mix into the water enough honey or sugar as to taste, and serve cold.

Our Favorite Renaissance Playwright, Shakespeare!

Here at Pearson’s, it’s obvious we love everything about the Renaissance period – the fashion, the history, the art. We are also huge fans of Renaissance theatre. We’ve seen many versions of plays by the great English Renaissance playwrights like Christopher Marlow, Ben Jonson, and, of course, William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is arguably one of the world’s most well-known playwrights, and with good reason. His plays are generally considered some of the best examples of theatre ever. Despite the popularity of his work, his life’s story isn’t as ubiquitous. Rather than give you a full biography of his life, we pulled together some interesting facts about “The Bard” that you might not know!

  • Though he wrote some plays while Elizabeth was queen, he is mainly considered a Jacobean writer.
  • Astronomers must be fans of Shakespeare – most of the moons that orbit Uranus are named for characters in his plays!
  • Even though he was incredibly prolific, Shakespeare did stop writing plays for a time and concentrated on writing sonnets. He only did this, however, because The Plague had caused many playhouses to shut down.
  • If there are any Trekkies reading this, you will be pleased to learn that two of Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing, have been translated into the fictional language of Klingon.

 

Present-Day Medieval Combat

These days, LARPers and cosplay fans would relish the opportunity to put their medieval armor to use and participate in real-life medieval combat. For many, it seems like an unattainable dream. You might be surprised to learn that this dream isn’t as unattainable as you might think. In fact, there are tournaments around the world that feature authentic medieval battle.

Early in May, the International Medieval Combat Federation gathered in Belmonte, Spain, to compete in the Medieval Combat World Championships. These tournaments are based on rules developed by King Rene of Anjou. According to a book written by King Rene, the tournament must be a melee fought by two sides. The book also featured heraldic ceremonies, costume design for the heralds and judges, specific weapons and armor, and prizes.

If you missed the chance to show off your battle skills in this year’s Medieval Combat World Championships, you can still take part in medieval battle. Beginning on June 12, Togir, Croatia, will host this year’s World Championship Battle of the Nations. This tournament features historical medieval battle competitions between teams from more than 25 countries. These events will not only including battles, but also medieval music, dance, traditional crafts, and a medieval market featuring handmade artisanal goods. To learn more about this event, visit http://botn.info/en/ .

Steampunk Cocktails!

Ever since the steampunk trend began picking up steam (I know, I’m sorry…), people have been incorporating the fun style into many aspects of daily life. One popular way to have a good time with steampunk is to throw a steampunk-inspired party. Have your guests don their best steampunk costumes, decorate your space with old-fashioned gears, clocks, and other imagery, and mix some steampunk cocktails. Steampunk cocktails?! Yep, some very clever people have put together some delicious steampunk-style cocktails. Here are some easy recipes:Steampunk cocktail

·       Mr. Jacobson’s Emerson

2 oz. Hayman’s Old Tom Gin (do not substitute regular London dry gin; it’s not sweet enough)
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur (it’s the raffia-covered bottle at the back of the bar)
Turbinado sugar
Maraschino cherry

Wet the rim of a cocktail (aka “martini”) glass and dip the moistened rim in the Turbinado sugar. Set glass aside, preferably in freezer to chill.

Pour the gin, vermouth, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into rimmed, chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry and serve. Repeat as needed.

·       The Pauline Charteris Hindenburg Cocktail

3 oz kirschwasser
A tad less than 1/2 oz dry vermouth
A splash of Grenadine
Lemon peel*
(*A peel… just the oily skin… not a “twist” with the bitter white pith.)

Shake with ice, enough to make cold, but not enough to dilute too badly.

·       Tinkerton’s Steam Cloud

1oz Brandy
2oz half and half
2 t sugar
1/4 t Vanilla extract

Combine ingredients in shaker and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add Ice and shake vigorously (this makes it thick and foamy like a shake) and strain into glass. Add a light sprinkle of cinnamon on top and enjoy.

For more ideas, check out the book Steamdrunks: 101 Steampunk Cocktails and Mixed Drinks and throw yourself a great steampunk costumes party!

Renaissance Wear in the News

At PearsonsRenaissanceShoppe.com, we try to keep our fans and customers up to date on all things Renaissance wear. Every so often, a truly great news story comes along about the clothes or time period of the Renaissance. Here are some of our favorite recent stories!Rothschild Prayerbook

  • A Renaissance-era prayer book was recently sold for a cool $13.4 million at Christie’s London. This prayer book, commissioned around 1505 by a member of the imperial court of the Netherlands, was acquired by the Rothschild family collection in the 19th century. Beautifully illustrated, it is considered one of the highest achievements of Flemish Renaissance painting. http://bit.ly/1ddSYLa
  • A Renaissance Faire reality show? It seems it is coming soon. According to nerdapproved.com, BBC America is currently looking for Ren Faire enthusiasts to participate in a show described as, “Survivor meets 1890 House, with a touch of Game of Thrones tossed in.” Well, hopefully, people won’t be experiencing a Red Wedding of their own. http://bit.ly/1a7l5Rk
  • This Medieval Joker armor costume made quite a splash online recently. Both incredibly cool and unspeakably terrifying, this costume, inspired by the famous Batman villain, will surely give anyone at a Ren Faire nightmares. http://bit.ly/1aJDmSI
  • As scientists try to figure how to successfully traverse the surface of Mars, one scientist has designed a space suit, inspired by medieval armor. “Mars is totally unforgiving and we must never forget that,” says Dr. Gernot Groomer. Understatement of the year? http://cnn.it/1fhbJQo

Have you heard or read any stories about Renaissance wear? Let us know in the comments!

Authentic Medieval Costumes Are No Laughing Matter

Authentic Medieval CostumesHere at PearsonsRenaissanceShoppe.com, we provide you a number of Authentic Medieval Costumes options when it comes to what type of role you’d like to play at your favorite Renaissance Faire. You can be a Queen, Knight, Wench, and so forth. But one of the roles that can be just as fun as the ones mentioned before is that of the Jester. The Jester was supposed to keep the royal court entertained during festivities and events. They used a number of methods to entertain, such as clowning, music, juggling, and mental challenges via riddles. This could be an entertaining and unique role playing experience at a LARP or Medieval Faire.

In honor of the Jester, we thought we might include a Medieval-themed jest. If you have any of your own, leave them in the comments section!

In a Medieval Kingdom, a wise Sage made the prophecy that the King’s concubine would died in the near future. A few days later, the prophecy came to pass. The King convinced himself that the reason the woman died was strictly due to the Sage’s prediction. The King called for the Sage and demanded that the Sage make another prophecy, saying: “Tell me when you are fated to die.” The Sage was astute enough to realize that King was likely going to have him executed, regardless of the answer. The Sage thought on it a moment and finally said, “The numbers do not reveal the moment of my death, but they do say that when I expire, the King will die within three days.”

 

Steampunk Costumes for Comic Con in July

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Find Your Steampunk Garb Here!

If you love pop culture, you may find that the July Comic Con event in San Diego, California is an exciting way to experience your favorite franchises, authors, illustrators, producers, characters, and so forth, in a more tangible way. It’s fun to attend workshops and events in hope of getting autographs from your favorites, and it can be especially fun to attend in costume. In fact, some of the events even involve fans dressing up and sporting their favorite styles on stage. Steampunk Costumes are unusual in appearance and design, perfect for playing the part of comic character or going after that first place status at the event.

Steampunk costumes provide a unique combination of old apparel style with a futuristic touch. The look is quite captivating, perfect for creating a unique look at Comic Con. It’s important to review the event details in order to know what contests are available and for what age groups. Children attending the event may be captivated by seeing their favorite characters, and it can be tempting to let them walk about on their own. They should be supervised, however, especially if they choose to participate in costume events. It’s a fun family activity to dress as related characters for the conference.

If you were considering a Steampunk costume for your Comic Con experience, you can find many different options here at PearsonsRenaissanceShoppe.com.