Pearsons Renaissance Shoppe Blog

Pouches & Sporrans

For as long as people have needed to carry things; papers, currency, Bibles, holy relics, keys and any other pertinent personal items, people have needed a way to carry them. A simple pouch was created for this use. The earliest use shows pouches were used to carry seeds. In the 1400s women were known to carry ornate bags called “handmoneys” or “tasques.” Around the 1500s more thought was put into the pouches as evidenced by decoration and utilization. They were commonly associated with marriage; a man would often give a woman a pouch decorated with love stories as a bride gift. Knights would often carry purses called “chaneries” filled with game or food for their falcons. Men and women alike used the pouches, usually worn on a leather strap around the waist. In the late 16th century to early 17th century pockets became popular in clothing and men’s use in the pouch declined. In later years the pouches evolved to handbags, clutches, and purses.

The sporran in particular originated around the 12th century in the Scottish Highlands. The men wore kilts made of long tartan, about two yards wide by four to six yards in length. Gathered around the waist and held with a tight belt, it fell to the knees and was fastened with a broach or pin over the left shoulder. As the tartan held no pockets the sporran was born out of necessity. Early sporrans were simple in design, usually made of leather or skin, gathered at the top with a simple drawstring or by thongs ornamented with small tassels. Starting in the late 17th century metal clasps of brass or silver were fitted to the sporrans, along with flap-tops and large tassels with a variety of hair and furs, and completed with a badgers head. The sporran is still in use today.

If you are going to the Renaissance Faire you don’t want to worry about losing all of your personal items. Why not tuck them away in a Renaissance Belt Pouch? Need a little bit more room than just a belt pouch? Alright then, how about trying one of the Scottish Sporrans? Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe has a pouch or sporran for every style from Medieval drawstring pouches, to leather Elven pouch bags, to sporrans with braided tassels, to Pirate pouch bags, and even Medieval bags etched with steel.

So make sure that if you are browsing the marketplace for Renaissance pouches and sporrans that you stop by PearsonsRenaissanceShoppe.com. You will love our wide selection of pouches and sporrans that are sure to keep your personal items nice and safe at Renaissance Faires and LARP events!


Cosplay Costumes

In honor of the cosplay season Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe has been expanding our cosplay costume inventory. We currently have several options for men, women, and children. What is cosplay you ask? If you don’t already know of course. Cosplay is similar to LARP (Live Action Role Play) and SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) in that it is a performance art where a specific character or idea is portrayed by a cosplayer who wears costumes and accessories. They sometimes attend Comic Conventions, or a Comic Con, which is an event where creators, experts, fans, and even guest stars amass to attend parties, panels, and join discussions that are all centered on many facets of comics. At several comic cons you are even able to meet the stars of your favorite television shows.

Are you planning to head to a comic con soon? Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe has some great costume ideas for cosplayer. Such as our Lord of the Rings Arwen Dress and our Lord of the Rings Aragorn Dark Leather Surcoat.

Pearson’s has recently expanded our cosplay inventory to include Disney cosplay costumes. Some of our selections include Cinderella, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, The Beast and Belle, Tiana, Frozen, and more! Here at Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe we even have cosplay costumes for the smallest cosplayer Wizard or Elsa.

Are you heading out to a Comic Convention soon? Be sure to check Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe for all your high quality cosplay costumes. Custom sizing and fitting is available to make sure you look your best!

Some upcoming Comic Cons:

Florida SuperCon
June 25-28, 2015

http://floridasupercon.com/

 

San Diego Comic Con International
July 9-12, 2015

http://www.comic-con.org/cci/

 

Texas Comicon
August 7-9, 2015

http://www.texascomicon.com/

 

New York Comic Con
October 8-11, 2015

http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/

A Modern Renaissance Soup

When I searched for authentic medieval recipes I came up with a lot of different options. I decided for my first foray into Medieval cooking that I would start simple and, with the help of my Queen of Renaissance Aunt, I decided to go with a Savory Barley Soup with Wild Mushrooms and Thyme that I found. Of course I was unable to find half of the required ingredients (or they cost a fortune, like saffron) so here is my personal version of the recipe:

Savory Barley Soup with Wild Mushrooms and Thyme

½ cup dry white wine

1 Tbs. Olive oil

½ cup chopped shallots

4 garlic cloves, minced

16oz cremini mushrooms, 8oz chopped, 8oz whole

1 tsp minced fresh thyme OR ½ tsp dried

4 cups vegetable broth

¾ cup pearl barley

3 cups water

1 Tbs tomato paste

2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring the wine to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the mushrooms and allow the liquid to cook down, until the mushrooms are tender. Turn off the heat and set aside. In a large heavy pot warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped shallots and the minced garlic. Saute about 3 to 5 minutes or until the shallots are softened. Add the mushrooms from your saucepan, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and the thyme. Cook 1-2 minutes and then add the broth, tomato paste, barley, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the barley is softened, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the soup from heat and allow to cool slightly. With a hand blender puree about 1 cup of the soup. Return to heat until hot, add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and stir. Your soup is ready to eat! Serves 4-8 depending on bowl size.

 

We served our medieval soup in bread bowl trenchers. I started my dough for my bread bowls about 2.5 hours prior to my soup as they need at least 1.5 to 2 hours to rise. I know it’s not super authentic, being a white bread rather than black, but I knew no one in our family would actually eat a black bread so here is my modern medieval version.

Simple Bread Bowls

6 1/3 cup Flour

1 tbsp Salt

2 ¼ tsp Yeast x2 OR 2 pkgs

3 cups Water

1 tbsp EVOO

Directions:

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add water and stir until fully incorporated. Kneading is not necessary, but I did a little to make sure everything was fully mixed. Remove your dough from the bowl, rinse the bowl and rub with EVOO (prevents dough from sticking.) Return dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm area for 1-2 hours until the dough has doubled. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Punch down the dough and roll it out on a floured surface. (I doubled our bread bowl recipe and cut about 12 bowls.) With this recipe you should get at least 6 large bread bowls or 12 small – depending on how big you want your bread bowls to be. Round your dough and set on a baking sheet to rise again, allow about 20-30 minutes. They will rise more once you put them in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes. Brush with melted butter or olive oil 10 minutes prior to removing them from the oven. This will give them a nice golden color. When done allow them to cool. Use a bread knife to cut the tops in a circle and use your fingers to even out the inside and make room for your soup. Serve with the top next to your bowl for dipping. Enjoy!

 

A Renaissance Wedding in the 21st Century

Renaissance wedding holds a certain amount of charm and allure that most modern weddings cannot hold a candle to. The old world style and traditions from many cultures mix and match to make your own special day the most magical. Most weddings today stem from a mix of these traditions from long ago. Perhaps our “something blue” comes from the tradition of the bride and groom wearing a band of blue ribbon, as blue was considered the color of purity and the most common medieval wedding dress color. White did not come into fashion as strict wedding color until Queen Victoria married in 1840.

In actuality it was usually the Lady’s best medieval dress that was worn for her wedding, no matter the color. The bridesmaids and groomsmen would dress similarly to the bride and groom to confuse those who would wish evil upon the happy couple on their wedding day. The veil, brought home to medieval Europe by Knights after the Crusades, was a symbol of purity and also used to ward off evil. If the season allowed, the women would hold a lovely posy which also served a purpose; to ward off the smell as bathing was not a top priority in the Renaissance period.

During the Renaissance the higher caste held their wedding ceremonies in their castles while the lower caste would celebrate in their own homes or the tavern. A handfasted or betrothed couple would have their union later approved by the priest or clergy, either when they went to the church or he stopped by their homeduring his traveling rounds (even then there was a shortage of ordained ministers.)Later in the Middle Ages, when the church reigned, the wedding was moved to the church or the church door and was overseen by the priest. Often weddings would be arranged for personal gain, whether it be property, a title, money, or a treaty. This was especially the case for the nobility.

The best part of Renaissance weddings were the grand feasts that always accompanied them, whether you were peasant or nobility. Everyone would eat with their fingers and dine on a variety of delicious fare. Some of the delights that could have been served at a Renaissance marriage feast were: venison, roasted boar (sanglier), goose, fish, quail, roasted peacock, mutton, cheeses, fresh fruits, nuts, oysters steamed in almond milk, stewed cabbage, custards and tarts, and spicy mulled wine. Many vegetables were known to this time period but few were eaten. Available to drink werewine, ale, beer, mead, milk, and water, to list only a few of the options they had.

Are you looking to celebrate your love in an old fashioned way in a highly technological day? Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe opens the door to high quality renaissance wedding gowns, and even clothing for your wedding party in a variety of renaissance dresses and medieval dresses. Don’t forget your groom and groomsmen. Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe has authentic medieval clothing for men, from fine doublets, vests, and coats, all the way down to breeches, kilts, and boots. Don’t forget the little members of your wedding party! Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe has a lovely selection of girls medieval dresses and boys medieval clothing as well. Lastly, every bride needs some beautiful medieval jewelry or even a crown.

Shire of Three Maples

On May 16, 2015 we attended the New Hampshire Renaissance Faire in Kingston, NH, bedecked in finery from Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe . There we strolled along the lanes of the Shire of Three Maples entrenched in a world where you leave the 21st Century behind and become a part of history in the remaking. Here you will find technology left behind and tents and chivalry risen. Flowing skirts and armored knights abound, fair peddlers selling their wares, swords and pouches attached to peoples sides instead of cell phones.

Among the many to attend the Faire were wenches with flowing skirts and low cut chemises, corsets displaying assets. Brave knights bedecked in shining silver armor, bowing with flourish to Lady’s and children alike. Fair maidens, archers, and elves, courtly Lord’s bending a knee in hello. The King and Queen also made an appearance. My personal favorite was the guardsman at the entrance, flourishing his feathered hat in greeting, saying “Good Morrow” with a big smile and a cheery wave.

We attended a Joust to see the brave knights atop huge steeds brandishing their lances and charging to clash in the middle. Armored from head to toe in shining steel they bravely met upon the field, lance tips flying as they shattered off each others shields. Holding no ill will against each other they smiled and shared words with the crowd, even allowing the smallest Faire attendees to pet their steeds.

Some other entertainment that we saw was Archery, Storytelling, Singing Pirates, Sword fighting, Belly Dancing, Bagpipes and more. At several points among the Shire were areas where you could take a turn at shooting an arrow from a bow yourself, or sword fighting with a pirate. We bought a rose from a flower peddler and she serenaded us with a sweet lilting voice as she bestowed us with a sweet smelling rose.

The Shire of Three Maples was also home to some amazing food. Sweets and Turkey Legs were available of course, but some more modern meals were also procurable: hot dogs, sausage subs with onions and pepper, kettle corn, and even deep fried Oreos. We tried the Wood-fired Pizza (courtesy of Stone Oven Catering) and it was melt in your mouth amazing.

At the end of the day, happy and leg sore, we headed back to the gates where the guardsman saw us off with a joke and a grin and we reentered the 21st century once again. The Shire hosts one of the smaller Renaissance Faire’s around but we will definitely be returning to the quaint mischievous atmosphere next year.

 

Sound the Alarms! A Midsummer Night Wedding Is Approaching!

Ah, there is nothing quite as magical as a midsummer night gathering to join two love birds in their life –long of matrimony! Sound the trumpets for this unforgettable event – a renaissance wedding is one of our favorite of events here at Pearson’s! After being courted by the knight of your dreams, after months of planning your guest list and picking out just the right merriment of food and drink, it’s finally time to look for a renaissance wedding dress, worthy of making you truly the fairest in the land! After all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event—you want to be the most desired dutchess, the most beautiful of all maidens, the most royal of ladies, and the most shinning of Queens. Fortunately, here at Pearson’s we have got a wide array of beautiful renaissance wedding dresses to make you feel like all of those things and more!

From Renaissance wedding dresses in traditional shades of white, to the royalty of bright and bold reds and gold, you’re sure to find just the attire fitting for the look and feel of your big event. Whether your wedding is small and intimate or as large and as royal as they come, we’ve got just the renaissance wedding dresses for you and your bridesmaids! You’ll wow the nobleman and be the envy of every lady in the land.  From maiden gowns to Italian Countess dresses and more, you’ll be in awe of our wide assortment of renaissance wedding dresses.

And while you’re in the market amongst our beautiful renaissance wedding dresses, don’t forget about the accessories! Oh, the accessories! They add just the right touch of royalty, just the right amount of sparkle. Add a waist cincher or underpinning to make your renaissance wedding dress truly stand out. And don’t forget to add a touch of gold! Shop an array of fine renaissance jewelry, including necklaces, crowns, earrings and bracelets.

So gather your royal maidens, indulge in a glass of deep red wine, and browse our selection of truly gorgeous renaissance wedding dresses. Together, you’re sure to come across a piece that you truly adore – something that your fair knight will adore just as much!

4 Tips for Attending Your First Renaissance Faire

Spring is here and that means that it’s Renaissance festival season! If you’ve never been to one before, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help enhance your enjoyment of the festivities:

1. Dress the Part

Attending a Renaissance faire in costume truly makes you feel like you’re a part of the event itself, not just a bystander. You can find costumes for just about every inclination — from nobility to pirates — online. Even just one piece of period clothing such as a hat or shirt will make a big difference.

2. Expect to See Some Skin

While browsing the Internet in search of your own costume you may have noticed some of the options are less modest than others. There is an extremely broad range of styles of clothing worn to Renaissance festivals and many of those do expose a lot of cleavage. These events are generally family-friendly, however, be prepared for ample bosoms to be on display.

3. Be Prepared for Some Bawdy Behavior

Again, your average Renaissance fair is somewhere you can take the kids. That being said, keep in mind that entertainment at these events often involves double entendres, which are delivered with a wink and a nod. The youngest family members won’t get it but the adolescents might. Consider it a teachable moment.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Take in the Sights — And Smells

In addition to seeing things you probably haven’t seen before, you will also smell things you’ve never smelled before. Not all of them will be pleasant but they will be real. For instance, it’s common for costumed fish mongers to wander the fair with their not-so-freshly-caught wares on display.

These tips will help you get into the spirit! After all, where else can you, “Eat, drink, and be merry!” with knights, dragons, wandering musicians, and of course, the Queen?

 

Medieval Accessories for the Knight in Your Life

There’s nothing quite as hansom as a well-dressed knight in shining armor, don’t you agree? But perhaps the renaissance clothing of the man in your life needs some, well, sprucing up? Have no fear! Pearson’s Renaissance Shoppe is here, supplying you the very best in renaissance accessories, fitting every single style. From the stylish man, who adores looking cleaned up in royalty, to the rugged knight, ready to take on the seven seas, Pearson’s is your shop for it all!

For the Royal King: For the royal knight in your life, fashion comes first! For him, Pearson’s has the latest in renaissance accessories suited specifically for adding a touch of royalty. Shop items such as suede bags with brass accents, imperial-styled boots, leather trimmed cloaks and medieval crowns and scepters. These items are all about standing out, showing off one’s wealth, and simply being the King of the land. The key here is the more glimmering gold, the better!

For the Rugged Knight: If the knight in your life is all about excitement and adventure, take a journey through our selection of renaissance accessories perfectly suited for him! He’ll love renaissance accessories such as leather pirate boots, armory belts with brass accents, pirate pouches, and thick woolen leather capes. These items are not only stylish, but also functional, ready to offer protection when slaying dragons, sailing rough waters, or combating other knights.

For the Outdoorsy Noble Peasant: The outdoorsy peasant may not think he is in need of renaissance accessories, but you know that every so often, he deserves some great gifting! Show him your affections by shopping renaissance accessories that are fitting for his outdoor lifestyle. Accessories such as tunics, wrist cuffs, belt pouches and maverick boots are great for this man. They add a touch of style, while remaining useful during his outdoor journeys and adventures.

Spruce up the medieval wardrobe of the king, knight, or noble peasant in your life by shopping renaissance accessories! Here at Pearson’s, we know that every man is a little different. Some like the glimmer or gold, others like the rugged comfort of leather, while others still prefer accessories that are more functional than anything else. Fortunately, we’ve got all that and more and our renaissance accessories will turn any pirate into a prince!

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.