Friday, March 19, 2010

Staying in touch

Slowly but surely coming down off the living history high after Henkel and Harrisburg. Now to sort through all my stuff and get organized again. Kimberly and I are planning to go back up to Missouri and Boonesfield for an event in September, which is good timing as it will be at the end of the "no reenacting because it's too damn hot" session down here. I'll be ready for an event by then.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Photos added

My friend sent me photos that she took at the conference. I've added them to the slide show.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Washington DC, 2010

Pictures here.

Took the train from Harrisburg to Union Station in DC and arrived about 6:00 and was met by my friend Angie. Decided to go get something to eat in Bethesda. We went to a Spanish restaurant and had tapas. Soooo good. Had planned to go to see Young Victoria, but I was really wiped out so went to Angie’s and to bed.

Monday morning we got up, had breakfast and got ready for the day. Angie had to work but she dropped me at the Metro and I took it into DC and the Smithsonian. The day was beautiful! Not too cool and not too warm. I wondered on the mall for a bit and took pictures, saw the Pres’s helicopter flying in…at least I think it was his. First stop was the history museum. This was the first time I had been back since they reopened. I was disappointed. It seemed sterile, bathroom doors were stainless steel. There are three floors of galleries but only two gallery spaces per floor. It seemed that some of the exhibits really didn’t relate to history, let alone American history, like the semi-conductor exhibit and the science experiment lab. The gift shops were very touristy and they book selection was seriously reduced. I guess they are trying to appear less stuffy. But I didn’t like it as much as before.

I then went to the Freer. I’m not that much into Asian art but it was a nice visit. There was a Whistler exhibit as well, which was nice. The Indian art was beautiful and the Peacock room…wow! I wanted to visit the portrait gallery but just didn’t have time. I managed to get the castle, which includes pieces from the different museums.

I met up with Ang at her store about 4:30 and we went back to Bethesda for dinner and to see the movie. First stop though a specialty chocolate shop. Then to a French restaurant for dinner, very good. Young Victoria was a good movie, not great, but visually a beautiful film and the costumes were great!

Tuesday was a down day. We got out late, about 12:00 and had lunch at a Belgian restaurant. Great crepe Suzette. Angie saved the best for last, a huge discount bookstore. Bought a few and then to Starbucks for coffee before I had to get to the airport.

The flight home was uneventful. From BWI to Houston I had the whole row to myself and then to Austin only one other person. Not first class, but still plenty of room to stretch out.

I really love this trip each year! Can’t wait for 2011!

1860s Conference

Pictures here.

I left Thursday morning from Austin to Houston. Met up with Nancy in Houston and we flew onto Philadelphia. Nancy was upgraded at the last minute and gave the seat to me. I was so excited to fly first class and will be ever grateful to her for the gift. We arrived in Philadelphia and took a taxi to the train station to take the train to Harrisburg. I love taking the train even if it was full and we ended up sitting in different rows. We took the hotel shuttle from the train station to Camp Hill and checked in. Once settled, we went down to the reception to check out all the wrappers and men’s jackets. To bed early as it had been a long day and tomorrow would be the beginning of a couple of full days.

Friday morning we checked in and got our binders and badges, went to breakfast and checked out the Marketplace. There was great stuff this year. So much I wanted and not enough money for it all. It was really hard to choose. But we had workshops so off we went. My first workshop was for a needle book. I didn’t finish it though. But I now know how to couch. We had lunch and then I went to practice with the projector clicker and find out how things would be set up for the presentation.

My second workshop was fabric flowers. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately I’m not sure I’ll be able to do this on my own as it requires specialized tools that are hard to find or no longer available. Martha McCain’s husband made the tools for her for the workshop.

In the evening there was a staff and faculty supper so Nancy and I went. Had some interesting conversations with other presenters. The conference began with a presentation on material culture with “Senator Galliday”. It was so funny and included wonderful photos of material culture items. Following that presentation I attended a presentation on period sanitary protection. That was interesting to hear about the how things were done. I knew a bit but there were some interesting photos of patents for belts and such. Also a discussion on “is this a knitted pad or knitted suspenders?”. And of course the originals on display!

Saturday morning started with the showing of the conference dresses and vests. Nancy has these photos on her camera so I will have to post them after she gets them to me. Everyone did a great job. Following that I attended a session on special clothes such as riding habits and traveling clothes by K Krewer. It was very interesting. The interesting point was trying to figure out just what was meant by traveling dresses. It was really hard to figure out; it was almost an arbitrary classification. Following K was Anna Worden’s very interesting talk on period ribbons and how to duplicate the look with what is available now. After lunch was a talk on Francis “Frank” Johnson and some dancing demonstrations by Karen and Briant Bohleke. Following that was the Wildcat Brass Band performance. I love brass bands! I purchased their CD and was able to get the band leader’s autograph on it.

Dinner was very nice and everyone looked beautiful in their ball gowns. Unfortunately I did not finish mine and so attended in my conference dress. Not only were the 1860s represented but the early 1800s and one last 1800s dress were worn for the ball. Before the conference K Krewer joked on a forum about dressing in her husband’s frock coat. I answered back she should as men were usually at a premium thinking she would not seriously do such a thing. She did!! It was hilarious. Right down to the 5:00 shadow! And she made sure everyone lady who wished to danced. Such a gentleman. After dinner we retired to the lobby of the conference center while the ball was being set up. The ball was lovely, dance cards, great music by the Wildcat Band, great dance masters. I didn’t want to dance much but it was great fun to listen to the music and watch all the beautiful gowns and dances. We left the dance about 11:00 as my presentation was the next morning and I wanted to get a good night’s sleep. But as is usual with me and Nancy we stayed up until about 1:00.

Sunday. My presentation was first thing in the morning. I really wasn’t nervous, more apprehensive not knowing how interesting my presentation on Texas would be to an audience made up mostly of easterners. But it went over splendidly. They got the joke about Frau Blucher from Young Frankenstein, laughed and clapped for the Carol Burnet curtain dress photo and I heard comments about other pieces such as the price of things and the delay in freeing the slaves. I added some comment about Elizabeth Neblet as well. One of the quotes I used from Kate Stone was about men wearing knitted suspenders, which allowed for a comment about the presentation on the knitted sanitary pads. Several people came up to tell me how much they enjoyed the presentation. One participant, a professional military historian who works with the pentagon, told me that the presentation was a graduate level paper and that it could have been presented the pentagon. Others stated they really had no interest in Texas but found my presentation interesting none the less and enjoyed it very much. Following my presentation was Carolann’s on genre painting. I loved it! The pieces were lovely and now I’m on the look out for genre paintings.

After the conference ended Beth Chamberlain took me to the train station to catch the train for Philadelphia to DC to visit Angie. I have a separate blog entry for the DC visit.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Conference Dress

Now that the conference is over I can show off the fabric and dress. I have better pixs of me in the dress, but they are currently in Italy on a friend's camera. Once she returns I'll post them.

Inspiration from the PNJW Collection on display at last year's conference:


Final version:

Henkel Square 2010

Pictures here.

I arrived at Henkel Square on Thursday afternoon to prepare for the school day on Friday. We had quite a group come in Thursday! The evening was cool but not uncomfortable.

Friday started with a bit of rain but soon cleared off. There were about 90 kids, a good manageable number. Our stations included photography, transportation of goods, fiber production, school house, explanation of the flags in the Mary Phelps house and a discussion on secession. It went off very well, I think. The teachers seemed pleased and the kids all seemed to enjoy it.

Friday afternoon, everyone began to arrive and brought with them a norther. It wasn’t so much cold as the wind was very biting. The fire in my room wouldn’t stay lit so things got a bit chilly.

Saturday morning the event started officially. I had a house full with the Ground Hornets. It was also an interesting situation as my room also served as the dining room. Once breakfast was cleared away, I requested the gentleman to go outside so that I could dress. I didn’t realize that the coffee was still not ready but they left without complaint. Once I was dressed, I opened the door and was greeted with “Annette’s dressed!” and a rush through the door to the dining room for the long awaited coffee. It gave us a good laugh afterward.

The 1861 Ordinance of Secession was read at the general store that morning and voting began. There was some confusion as the ordinance is written in quite fancy language and some of our community visitor didn’t quite understand exactly what was being said. A great discussion developed on exactly what was to be voted on: leave the Union, join the CSA or both. As the men lined up to vote, some women decided they wanted in on the action and confronted the poor elections clerk. They caused such a stir that the militia was finally called in to sort out the matter. The rest of the day was spent putting together meals, having wet plate pictures taken, playing dominos, visiting and catching up on the news in the paper. Some of the Ground Hornets had spent Friday night in the cups and Mr. Nix was insistent that the young men be reminded about the dangers of excess. While they played dominos, he read from Advice to Young Men on the dangers of swearing, gambling, cursing, drinking and the use of tobacco. It was a quite timely reading. We had more food at the house than could be eaten. There was pork and deer sausage, potato salad, cabbage, applesauce, rice, cakes, bread, lemonade, I can’t remember all what else; we did not starve over the weekend. In the late afternoon the ballots were counted and the ballot box was “borrowed” by some women who attempted to stuff the box with their votes. Saturday night we gathered at the church to hear some wonderful singing, music and poetry readings.

Sunday morning it was discovered that the Ground Hornets had appointed themselves the new Committee on Public Safety. As passports were required to travel from county to county, our committee decided to charge for them! They went from house to house to deliver the news. They did not count on the weaver women to not understand English. One of them spoke some German, at least enough to get their point across after showing her their gun. I believe it was finally worked out with a “gift” of some sausage. Church was wonderful with a very timely lesson on the observance of laws. The music was wonderful; we had some very good singers in our congregation. After church, the result of the vote was announced…Henkel Square has decided to secede. Congratulatory handshake all around.

At 2:45 or so we gathered again at the church to close up the event. I believe this was the best of the Henkel Square events so far. Many of the participants are hoping to return and are already working on their impressions for next year. The next Henkel Square event is being planned for May 20-21, 2011. The scenario will be the gathering and sending off of troops. A flag presentation is in the works as well as other celebrations for a grand send off. More information will be available at as things are finalized.