Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Silk

I think I have found a new silk for my ball gown.
It's a taffeta and more expensive than what I had picked out originally. But for only 4 yards I can swing it. I'm really torn though, not sure the ball will make. Do I get it now and just spend the money or do I wait with the possibility it will take forever to get here and either I will have to rush the construction or the fabric won't come in time? This is something to think about after Christmas...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


For the Henkel Square event I began formatting Vicki Betts' Texas newspaper transcriptions into newspaper type sheets. It was requested that I continue the job for the rest of the war years. I have on my webpage March - December 1860; 1861 will be up soon. The sheets can be found at

I have the different years broken out to their own pages. On the individual year pages are listings of the different papers represented with links to any Handbook of Texas articles on the paper. Under each month is a list of some of the headlines in that edition. (Yes, I do have a life, but I really enjoy doing this.)

Vicki's transcriptions of all the papers she has worked with can be found at

Friday, December 5, 2008

Silk disaster

My silk arrived and I'm disappointed. It is not light blue, but electric blue, less of a taffeta and more of a slubless dupioni, more of a lining weight, and there are several flaws throughout the fabric. Very disappointing. So on the look out for another fabric. I'll hang on to this for lining or maybe a bonnet...I should have known it was too good of a deal.

Oh well. I'm still looking at the same style, maybe I'll find a really good red like the fashion plate.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Change in plan

There were only four yards of the fabric I wanted for my ballgown, so I have changed designs to this one, the red. My dress will be a very pretty light blue with the ribbons on the under skirt and berthe also blue. The underskirt and berthe will be white silk gauze with the skirt lined in white muslin and the sleeves white silk organza. This one is a little more labor intensive but I think it will turn out beautiful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On With the Ball

No reeanctments coming up nor any sewing at the moment. I am, however, concentrating on the ball in January. I have added some new links to the ball page of my website. I think this will be fun. The caller is really excited about it as well, which will just add to the evening.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

No Liendo

Well decided not to go to Liendo. The weather was not great and none of my friends were able to go this year, so I stayed home. It sounds that others stayed away as well. It's a great site and at one time was a great event, but I think it has too many modern vendors and few period sutlers now. Skuttlebutt is that the event may be ending as the site owner has some medical issues to deal with. Many events in Texas are going by the wayside and I'm not sure what is the real issue behind it.

Up next then is the ball, I hope. Have picked out my ball gown, still looking for the fabric. Probably won't start on it until after December 31 when I'll know for sure if the ball will make. Here is the inspiration, the blue one on the left.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Henkel Square

Henkel Square is over and I'm tired. But the event was fun, the site had more visitors than I think they usually do, and all the participants seemed to have a good time and want to see the event continue. The site had about 47 visitors, the majority saying they came out because of the Texas Highways article, and we had about 11 participants. Very small group of Henkel Square residents, but it worked. We could not have asked for better weather; it was beautiful! Clear skies, maybe 70 degrees, a slight breeze, chilly at night...perfect reenacting weather.

Steven and I arrived at the site about 1:00 on Friday to set up. We had the Muckelroy house and the Schumann I to set up as a general store. Most everyone arrived later that afternoon or later that night. We had three boarders in our house for the weekend. Saturday morning we got up and prepared for the day. I knew that it would be work cooking for the household plus two other guests I was expecting, but the reality really hit on Saturday. Made eggs, ham, and biscuits for breakfast. Got it served, cleaned up and immediately started getting the stew ready for dinner. Had a brief opportunity to run get the mail while the stew, well stewed, then to serve lunch and clean up. The men in the meantime spent the morning playing dominos at the store and lounging around.

I finally got to read my letter from Silvana at the Boonesfield Mo. event. The letter exchange really made the event special, to receive unexpected mail. It also gave an interesting ice breaker with the public. That afternoon I was able to go pay some visits and we found out from a rider that Lincoln had won the election, which spread fast and caused quite a stir. Captain Crosby, of course, reassured the community that no rash action would be taken by the state and that great thought would be put into what the state would do next. At the post office, Mrs. Betts read her letters from her family.

Supper that evening was simple with cheese, eggs, ham, and bread. The evening was passed by the gentleman playing dominos and I repairing my corset.

Sunday one of our gentleman boarders was so kind as to prepare our meals. We also had church service with Mr. Collison filling in for Mr. Nix and giving a wonderful serman. Mrs. Russell provided the music on her dolcimer. Church was held outside under the oaks as some visitors who had used the church on Saturday failed to remove their property. But the day was so lovely, it was a pleasure to sit outside. After church we gathered on the porch of the Muckelroy house and visited for some time. Then we dispersed to our respective homes for lunch and to prepare for departure.

Although this year's event was small everyone seemed to enjoy it and expressed an interest in seeing the event continue. We're looking at possible dates in November 2009 or February or May of 2010. We also discussed different scenarios for the event and possible activities. The lack of activities this year was my fault; I really zoned out the last few months with medical issues but now hopefully they are under control and I will be more in tune and proactive with the planning of the next event.

Pictures of the event are posted on my website.

So the next event is Liendo in 2 weeks. I think I'm just going out for the day. Look for a post and pictures after the 22nd.

Monday, October 27, 2008

TMD 2008

What a weekend. First to Round Top for a school day at Henkel Square with about 600 kids all between 8:30 or so and noon. Then to George Ranch for Texian Market Days. Stayed in the 1860s house Friday and Saturday nights. It didn't seem that we had as many people as last year but still there was a steady stream of visitors throughout the day. Nancy and I sat in the parlor with Collette, one of the site docents. She was so good with her knowledge of the house and family, we pretty much let her talk and we sat for pictures :). Two Texas Rifles civilians took the kitchen and cooked stew, which was a big hit with the visitors. In the afternoon our house was over ran by Yankees with the Confederates coming to the rescue. Not really a true Texas scenario, but the public loved it and it was a fun time. The site provided a hospitality tent for the reenactors with sandwiches and drinks. Saturday evening was the traditional dinner, but not barbeque this year. As it was the 25th there was a slide show running with shots from various years' events. Different staff members and volunteers were recognized for their work with the event and cute "Texian Market Days" pins were given out to all the reenactors.

The event is only a one day event so Sunday just loaded up, surveyed their cemetery for a designation and come home. Pictures from the event can be seen at

I did wear the new silk and here it is

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Busy weekend

Tomorrow begins a very busy weekend even though it's Thursday. I'm going to leave work about 1:00 and travel to Dubina in Fayette County to visit a cemetery we are getting ready to designate historic. It's a wonderful cemetery associated with one of the "Painted Churches". I'm staying at a motel overnight as I really didn't feel comfortable staying out at Henkel Square by myself. I have to be at Henkel by 8:00 for a school day--over 500 kids all in the morning. I'm going to the wear cotton work dress, apron and slat bonnet rather than dress up, something different. That afternoon I'll drive down to George Ranch and Texian Market Days on Saturday, then home Sunday. I'm wearing the new silk on Saturday and will have pictures up next week. I'm a little bummed that I don't have a bonnet to go well with my silk; however, the hair net from Vivian Murphy will go well with the silk in the house.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Silk update

Bodice is done and so are the undersleeves. Only thing left is the skirt, which, I'm sorry to say, will be machine stitched, at least the long seams, just running out of time. Photos to be posted as I can, but probably not until the whole thing is done.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I found the buttons for the new silk dress.

I'm going to use my existing pinner apron (the blue) for Piney Woods and a friend had started a quilted sunbonnet that she didn't plan to finish, so I'll finish that and use it.

Piney woods requires a photo prior to the event, so once the silk is done I'll start on Piney Woods clothes so I can get a photo. If it's not accepted, oh well, I can use the stuff here in Texas.

The silk mock up is done. I had to adjust the pattern a bit as the sleeve jockey was not what I wanted. I will fit it today with my corset, I hope, and start on the silk. The lining silk has not yet come in but at least I can get stuff cut out, marked and start on the skirt, undersleeves and collar. I would like to have this done by TMD in 3 weeks; I may have to machine some of it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Next project

The corset is done and works for now. On to the next dress. Inspiration:

Fabrics, silk for the dress and silk velvet for the trim. The lining will be black silk which I have not purchased yet. Will also need to decide on buttons.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Texas Living History and Ike

Ike has spared the sites for two upcoming civilian living history events in Texas--Texian Market Days at George Ranch and Henkel Square in Round Top.

Henkel Square had no damage and George Ranch had minimal damage to some outbuildings and their 1830s barn. Both events will go on as planned; I just hope the participants from the Houston area will be settled enough by these events to attend.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Ike hit Texas pretty hard along the Gulf. I've heard from many of my reenacting friends and so far relatively minor damage, no houses destroyed. The Henkel Square site has no damage; I'm waiting to hear about George Ranch. Even if George Ranch did not sustain much damage it's hard to say whether they will go forward with Texian Market days due to the other damage in the surrounding area.

The corset pattern...directions could use a little more work. One half is about done, again by hand. It appears there is quite a large spring in the back, more than I expected or thought accruate. Will reevaluate when done.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Finally done

The wrapper is finally done.

I took a short break on sewing to catch up on some reading and now am preparing for the Texas living history season starting up in about a month or so. I've decided to make a new corset as my first "must get done before mid-October project. I'm using the new Kay Gnagey pattern put out be Simplicity #2890; we'll see how it works. The pattern doesn't call for a lining but I think I will put one in.

No doubt I will be busy for some time between sewing and the Henkel Square event.

Monday, August 18, 2008


The wrapper trim is finally done. Pictures will be posted once the buttons are on.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Piney Woods dress

The homespun I ordered for my dress for Into the Piney Woods arrrived. Not sure yet if I like it; not exactly what I thought it would be. But I have time to think on it a bit. I'm using Vicki Betts' Furr homespun dress and the dress to the left as guides to construct the dress. I'm undecided whether to have coat sleeves or bishop. The coat may be more comfortable without the cuffs, but the bishop can be pushed up as needed. I'm now on the lookout for the fabric for an apron and slat bonnet.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What was I thinking

What was I thinking when I decided that sewing my wrapper by hand was a good idea? Not that it's difficult and I really do enjoy the hand sewing but it takes soooo long. Well, and I've been sick and not able to work on it for some time too. Almost done stitching down one edge of the trim. Then stitch the other edge, make the button holes, sew in the waist tie and it's done.

I am now truly an independant. I have removed myself from all association with the Texas Rifles. Apparently my innocent statement on a forum that the website was not up to date and the civilians were inactive hit a sore spot with the captain and he decided to attack me personally on the list and tell people I bad mouthed the group. I merely pointed out on a forum that the website, although not updated for some time, does have the updated event schedule, contact information, and group guidelines (pointing out the obvious). And that the civilian side was inactive; at least that is my impression as I have not seen or heard of any civilian activities from the civilian coordinator, so what else am I to assume? So rather than the go to the forum and rebut my statements, which were so insulting and made the group look bad according to the "captain", he attacks me on the group yahoo list. Then goes on the forum and blasts me again. Talk about over reaction! You would have thought I said the group was a bunch of drunken farby louts from his reaction. I've decided to let it go other than this one mention here. I have disassociated myself entirely with the group; although, I've probably been dropped by the group as well, so it is a mutual separation and disappointment.

So the season is coming up, the first event being Texian Market Days in Richmond. Henkel Square is iffy as I don't have enough registered at this time to fill the structures, so we'll see. I'm starting to get things lined up for Into the Piney Woods in March; it is something I've not done before and the impression is a lower socio-economic level than I usually do, so new stuff to get and a new dress. I've ordered the fabric, a nice green plaid homespun. Doing some research, Vicki Betts page is wonderful for this.

So I think that pretty much catches up on my living history activities.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I put the wrapper aside for a bit to work on some research--civilians on the Texas gulf coast during the Federal invasions/attacks, however you want to phrase it. I also am getting back to some basic Texas research and entering items into my database. My fingers really needed a break from the hand sewing. I just finished Empire of Slavery and will start Plantation Life in Texas. Will probably get back to the sewing next week.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wrapper progress

The trimming on the sleeves is done. I have pinned the trimming on the wrapper itself and will now start to sew it down. Once the trimming is done, then buttons, then cording on the inside to go around the waist and it's finally done!

It seems I'll have lots of time now to put together garments. Athens will probably not happen due to some health issues I'm dealing with; so the next event is not until the end of October.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Missing Events

Well, it seems I will not be able to attend Athens. Health issues are in the way and I cannot at this time wear my corset. I do not expect things to be right enough by August. This is extremely disappointing as I was really looking forward to this one. The coordinator is graciously holding my spot in case things change, which is very sweet. She has also contacted me about attending Into the Piney Woods in Louisiana in March. I am hoping my health improves soon as I would like to attend this one as well and I have events I'm coordinating beginning in October.

I continue to work on my wrapper. I have one sleeve trimmed. The trimming is taking more time than I expected but I will not rush it. It looks really good, even if I say so myself.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wrapper update

I have the wrapper pretty much constructed other than the trim and hem. I've decided against putting a collar on at this time. I've piped the neckline so I can always go back and add one. Here are a few pictures of the front, the sleeve, the inside construction, the back and showing the sleeve and front facing. I decided not to line the skirt as I will probably wear it mostly in comfortable or warm weather and will not need the warmth. I partially faced the front just for appearance sake if the skirt should flip open. I did not attempt to match the fabric pattern as I did not have enough fabric to waste on matching; however, after looking at several original pieces, matching patterns did not seem to be a concern so much in 1860.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Wrapper Continues

When using the Past Pattern wrapper pattern, be sure to pay attention to the pattern piece lay out. But all turned out well and I have the front and back together and am working on the lining. The bodice will be lined but the skirt will only be faced in the front. I'm sewing completely by hand so it's taking some time.

The re-enacting season in Texas is over other than a few small living history events at living history sites. This is when I get most of my sewing done and wardrobe revamped, ready for the next round of events in the fall. This year will be a bit more of a push though with Athens in August.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Missing Bellmead

The last event of the spring season in Texas is this weekend and I'll have to pass. Real life activities have claimed my time. So now I will be looking forward to Athens, Mo. in August and the fall event season here in Texas. It looks like an 1850s event is coming together at Fort McKavett in October or November. I also think on my way to Athens I'm going to take a side trip to see the Steamboat Arabia museum. Plus all the sewing I want to do for the upcoming events; especially if the 1850s event comes to be, that means a whole new wardrobe!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


The first garment I'm going to start on is the wrapper; it's what I don't have so make sense to me to start there.

Here is the main fabric of the wrapper alone and with the trim.

I plan to use the strips of the red rouched around the edges and use frog clasps for the closings. I'm using the Past Pattern wrapper as the base pattern.

The trim will be applied similar to this. Except that it will follow down the front around the neck rather than follow the front dart line.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Next events

So the next event coming up is Bellmead in Waco on May 17th. I had wanted to go to this one but now I'm teetering. Between wardrobe issues and real life issues, it might just not happen. I'm thinking of compromising and not dressing out and at least get some pictures as it is not that far away and just do a day trip.

The next event I'm really pushing toward is Athens in Missouri in (yuck) August. It will be similar to Henkel Square. It should be a great time if I can survive the heat and humidity. This is the first time I've travelled so far for an event; the furthest being Pleasant Hill just over the state line into Louisiana.

I want to have a wrapper and sheer dress done for this event so I'll be a sewing monster between now and then. I have the fabric for both. I plan to replicate this dress and the fabric I have is almost exactly the same.

Here is the fabric and the trim.

I also want another chemise and a couple new petticoats; I always do this, wait until the last minute to put things together.

I plan to make use of the travel up north to also visit the Steamboat Arabia museum, which I have wanted to visit for ages. Since I'll be so close I will have to visit.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Battle of Port Jefferson

This was a very different event weekend for me as I didn't really attend the event. Steven and I didn't leave Austin until Saturday morning and went straight to Karnack for a tour of Caddo Lake. It's about a 5 hour drive; we got there about 1:30. The tour was great, very beautiful. The weather could not have been better.

Then into Jefferson. We passed the event site on the way and it didn't look very crowded and hardly no tentage (found out later that most camped in town). Checked into the hotel--the Jefferson Inn, nice place and for those of you who know the we saw no ghost nor experienced any paranormal activity. Then to lunch. Went to Auntie Skinner's. Ok but not great, very slooow. Caters to the bikers that go through town.

We then decided that we would hit the event site on Sunday and rest up Saturday for the ball. So took a nap and then looked around town. Jefferson is a beautiful little town full of cute Victorian houses and cottages many built before the Civil War.

The ball this year was held inside the CVA building instead of the courtyard. The courtyard is cute but just not big enough. Time Was played this ball as well. The chamber of commerce guy at the door was kind of a jerk about my registration and such. I had called them to tell them I would be late arriving on Saturday and wrote the same on the registration I faxed. When we got there the Chamber was empty and they were apparently at the battlefield but said they would continue registration at the ball. Well apparently not as they did not have my registration at the ball and really made it very difficult and were pretty snotty about the whole thing. I felt as if they didn't believe me and that I was trying to get into the ball free.

The ball was well attended I think; it was hard to tell in the bigger room. There were enough couples to consistantly make up 4-5 rows of 6 couples for the reels. The ball was supposed to last until 11 but ended about 10:15. Don't know what was up with that.

Sunday had a cold breakfast at Auntie Skinner's, checked out and went out to the battlefield. Since it was still early and most had camped in town there wasn't much going on. The battle wasn't until 1:30 so we just decided to head home.

It was a nice weekend, but it appears that there were fewer visitors in town and fewer reenactors. It's really too bad as the town could potentially be a great site. However, with the price of gas, the distance, the lack of civilian activities and the treatment by the chamber people it is unlikely that I will be going back.

Additional pictures can be found on my website at

Friday, May 2, 2008

Found the coolest living history group.
It encompasses all periods and countries. There are some great pictures on the site. I'm enjoying it.

So leave for Jefferson tomorrow morning. We are going to take a bayou tour when we get there. Then dress out, go to the site, get some pictures. There will be some garden tours too that should be nice.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Well, the ball gown is going to stay home this trip. Old faithful will have to do and Steven will go in linen. Too bad, but nothing I can do about it at this point. There is an interesting website up, Living History Worldwide. Takes in all eras, all over; so you'll find ACW reenacters in England on the site. It's pretty interesting. Will report on Jefferson after the weekend.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

So, the next event coming up is Jefferson. I don't plan to be there for the whole event, probably won't even make it out to the battlefield. I'm going for the ball; long drive for a ball, but it's fun and Time Was is playing. Usually, other than the ball, there isn't much for civilians other than the tea put on by the local UDC at the modern "plantation" house outside of town . With such a historic town and so much still intact, there is so much more they could do in the town itself for civilians.

My activities between now and then will be to alter my ball gown, I'm sure it will need to be let out or added to (unless I starve the next week).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Living History Days, Confederate Reunion Grounds Mexia Texas

This is a small mainstream event east of Waco, Texas. The site is beautiful and has great potential. The weather could not have been better. The crowd on Saturday was fairly large considering there was little advertising of the event. I just don't understand why the public has to be so rude about the safety issue. If there is a barrier, it is there for a reason, if you are asked to remain behind the barrier, it is for a reason, why bad mouth the people who are trying to keep you from getting ran over by a horse or burned with powder. It was very irritating, especially when a reenactor decided it was time to yell at me and tell me that is really wasn't necessary. However, given those isolated instances, the event itself went well, I thought. Like all mainstream events it had it's share of less than accurate portrayals, wrist watches, women in hats with net knots and streamers but no petticoats, and confederate flag venders. It does have some great locations for carpe eventum though, stuck back in glades by the river. There is talk of introducing more of a living history aspect to the event. I would very much like to see that.

There was a wedding at the event this weekend which was beautiful. And the ball with Time Was was tons of fun. All in all a nice relaxed event that has the potential of becoming one of the better in Texas.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 17, 2008

I procrastinate. I decided I better make sure I have a dress that fits before deciding whether or not to dress out this weekend. I haven't been to an event since November and then some were getting snug. And lo and behold, only one dress fits--old faithful, blue "dress for the country". It will have to do. Will the ball gown fit in May?

April 16, 2008

So I've decided to start a blog. I plan to use this space to document the preparation for, my experiences at and thoughts on different reenactment and living history events I attend. Event photos will continue to be found on my main site photo gallery.

Currently I'm getting ready for an event at the Confederate Reunion Grounds in Mexia, Texas. The site is managed by my agency so I am going in an official capacity to help out the new site manager. Don't know if I'll be dressing out or not; working on that the next couple of days.