Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bodice done

The bodice is done. I so wish I could share photos, but not yet. I'm very pleased how it turned out; very closed to the inspiration. So now to finish the skirt and the rest of the workshop bags. Busy next few months. This will give me some sewing to do while I volunteer at Pioneer Farms the next couple of months.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Henkel Square Sale

Henkel Square was a collection of historic buildings in Round Top, Texas. We had held several events there staying in the structures. Last year the site was sold and redeveloped into a kitchy, cutesy collection of shops. I have not visited any of the structures since being renovated with electricity, don't really want to. The buildings contained a wonderful collection of furnishings and other items. They are all now being sold off. To me this is bittersweat as I am glad to know that they were not destroyed, but hate to see them probably go to overpriced antique stores rather than be preserved and saved for research and education.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Basic bodice and both sleeves done and in. I think, however, my cat will be with me permanently in form of fur on this dress. Awaiting the conference with anticipation. We may have a couple of new Texan attendees. I really need the break the conference will provide.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Volunteering Weekend

This Friday and Saturday I spent volunteering. Friday I was at Pioneer Farms for school day. We had an unexpected school come for the day, so after everyone got signed in I went down to the German farm and docented there for the morning. In the afternoon I helped out at the store as 120 kids spent their money or whined because they had none.

Saturday was Christmas at Winedale. We had several visitors throughout the day. I was stationed at the Lewis-Wagner house in the parlor.

Lewis-Wagner House
Lewis -Wagner Parlor

The parlor of the house is upstairs and has great galleries. It is assumed the parlor is upstairs because the house was used as a stage stop at one time and the upstairs parlor allowed for private family space. I like this house, it's comfortable. More pictures can be found here.

And yes, I went by Henkel Square, no didn't get pictures. I didn't recognize most of the structures. Let's just say it's "cutesy" and looks just like the rest of Round Top.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dye job

As promised here are photos of the cording and crocheted medallions I dyed over the weekend. The tassels were already that color.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Since I couldn't find the exact color of cording I wanted for the trim on my dress I decided to dye some. The first cording I bought was apparently treated with some thing that wouldn't allow it to dye. Didn't realize it. So ended up using drawcording, which not only held the dye better but looks more like the triming on the original, it's just not as large as I would like it to be. I also dyed the medallions I crocheted that goes with the tassels in the front. Pictures once they all dry.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Another Day at the Farms

Spent another day at Pioneer Farms. Started out rainy but cleared up in the afternoon. Finished the mock up of my conference dress bodice while there. And since I had my corset on anyway tried it on when I got home. Just a few changes. Need to take the corset in a bit. Also have the conference travel set. Looks like there might be 3, possibly 4 from Texas this year. Plan to visit Gettysburg again Sunday afternoon. It should be a nice trip; really looking forward to it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pioneer Farms Volunteering Day

Saturday I volunteered at Pioneer Farms in Austin. I was at the German Farm. It was a dreary, rainy day. It stopped raining  by the afternoon but it was cold and very windy and wind was chilly. We still had a few visitors though! Just a few pictures of the German farm.
German Farm-Kruger Cabin interpreted 1868
Back of cabin

The back woods and chicken coop, ignore the water spicket and hoses :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pioneer Farms Volunteer

This past weekend I started volunteering at Pioneer Farms in Austin. I helped out at the General Store running the register. The General Store, as the rest of the town site, is interpreted in the 1890s. New clothes!! Right now make do with homespun generic with an apron. Not ideal, but will work on proper 1890s. I plan to help out there 2 days or so a month at the store and at the German Farm site. The German Farm is interpreted as 1868, so my 1860 work dresses will be fine. Not sure the site is quite appropriate for Germans in Texas in 1868, but the cabin was built by a German so that is how they interpret it.

I spoke with the site director and they really want the site to interpret the history spot on and eventually get AAM acredited. I would like to help them with their costuming and maybe some of the interpretation. So now until I get another full time job I'll get my dress up fix and serve an organization that appreciates the help.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Civil War and the Material Culture of Texas, the Lower South and the Southwest

This passed weekend I attended the 3rd Biennial David B. Warren Symposium put on by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The focus was the Civil War. I missed the Friday night talk as I couldn't leave Austin until late. Saturday morning, then, was the first session I attended. The first presentation was on the William Hill Collection. This is a database being put together by the Kitty Powell Library at Bayou Bend. The database will catalog Texas artisans from the 1850-1900 censuses and 19th century Texas newspapers. It is based on the craftsman database at MESDA in Salem NC. The library has a grant to develop the database and will be working on this soon.

The next presentation was Pretty Pictures for Troubled Times: Portrayals of Plantation Properties. John Vlach was the speaker. He wrote the books Back of the Big House and The Planter's Prospect: Privilege and Slavery in Plantation Paintings. This was an interesting presentation on how the plantation was represented in art. It gave me a great idea for a conference proposal.

The next presentation was Reconstructions: Material Culture of the South Carolina Plantation by Dana Byrd. She discussed the plundering of the south by Union troops during the war. She stated that looting was done for 3 reasons either as souveniors, simply to destroy or due to envy of the weathy. It was an interesting session

Lunch was catered by Central Market. There were no tables in the room where lunch was served so we sat on a bench in the hall. On the wall was the strangest anime video called "City Glow". If you want to see it you can view part of it on Flickr at

After lunch we listened to No Cotton in the Kingdom: Textiles in the Civil War South. This is the one session we were really looking forward to and unfortunately we were disappointed. It was presented by Katie Knowles. The first part of her talk was spent explaining what fibers were; I really think most of the audience knew what silk, wool, linen and cotton are and where they come from. The next part she discussed cotton in eighteenth century France. She finally got to the 19th century and discussed the importance of cotton on the south's economy. She knew quite a bit about the effect of the cotton trade but little on the use of cotton outside of plantation cloth. I guess I expected images of the different textiles and uses, which were not presented. She also made a bad connection between a dress in a painting and one in a fashion plate. Was not very impressed with her research or her presentation.

The final presentation was on Monumental Achievement: the Civil War and the Making of American Memory. This presentation included slides of different Civil War monuments, almost exclusively from the Northeast. It was interesting to see the different types of monuments groups and cities put up in recognition of the Civil War dead.

After the symposium we went to see the King Tut exhibit. Wow...disappointing! The majority of the exhibit consisted of artifacts from other kings and tombs. Yes, they were great to see but I expected Tut. There was only small artifacts and the bed from his tomb and a reproduction of his mummy. I guess I just thought there would have been at least one "wow" artifact, you know the items you really think of when you think Tut. So then we visited the Life and Luxury exhibit on 18th century France. Beautiful! Really enjoyed that one. No photos though.

We had dinner at a great little restaurant with a friend of Nancy's and then to bed early. We had not planned to attend the next day's event, just too expensive; however, there was a drawing for free tickets and Nancy won. So to bed early to be on time to catch the bus.

Sunday we start at the new Bayou Bend Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center, which by the way is really nice. The Center also houses the Kitty King Powell Library and Study Center. Nancy and I were given a tour of the library. Very nice space. We then boarded the bus to travel to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to view Discovering the Civil War, a traveling exhibit from the National Archives. The exhibit also included pieces from the Nau Civil War Collection. The National Archives exhibit was basically a display of documents from the Archives, which are now digitized. Little on the home front. The Nau collection was all military focused with lots of guns and dags of soldiers. I'm glad I saw it but glad I didn't have to pay for it. We then went to Silver Eagle Distributing, Nau's business. Here we had lunch and listened to a talk about Robert E. Lee followed by a viewing of more of Nau's collection. I was able to get a few photos from this viewing.
Leather housewife
Donation list from Gonzales
for the comfort of soldiers in Terry's Regt.

General Order No. 12 from Marshall, Tx.
printed on wallpaper

All in all it was an enjoyable weekend even if it wasn't outstanding. I heard some good talks and met some very knowledgeable people.

Next conference is the Sexuality & Slavery: Exposing the History of Enslaved People in the Americas conference at UT. Shoud be interesting. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cool Things in the Mail

A couple of cool things in the mail the last week. First the exhibit catalog for the new exhibit at Kent State Museum, "On the Home Front: Civil War Fashions and Domestic Life." Wish I lived closer to see the exhibit in person. The catalog is divided into sections: Military Influence; Outerwear; Color, Pattern, Trim; Memories and Mementos; Foundations; King Cotton; and Weddings. There are photos of dresses, children's dressing, accessories and quilts. One of the dresses in the wedding section appears that it was made for a pregnant person. It has the weirdest waistband treatment. There are some lovely shawls and quilts. But it definately leaves you with wanting more. The photos give you a great overview but of course do not give you the detail. I still think it is a great resource. If you can't visit the exhibition I suggest getting the catalog. You can order the catalog by calling the museum or emailing with shipping address and credit card number. It is $7.95 with shipping to be determined.

The other book I received is "The Civil War Remembered: Official National Park Service Handbook." This contains essays by reknown Civil War scholars like Ed Ayers, James Horton, James McPherson, and Drew Faust. Lots of images. Looks like a good overview of several aspects of the war. You can find the book through e-parks at*The-Civil-War-Remembered/.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Civil War in Texas: Changing Interpretations After 150 Years

This past weekend I passed on Texian Market Days and attended this conference sponsored by Victoria College/University of Houston-Victoria. (While I felt bad not going to TMD as it was the 25th year, after seeing some of the photos I'm glad I didn't as it seemed to lack authenticity. Lots of netting on hats, false ringlet falls in unnatural colors and badly made up Simplicity patterns in upholstry fabric. I don't think I would have had a good time.)

The conference was well done with many well-qualified speakers. I was pleased to see several papers on minority populations. But not a lot of new information, although I did learn about some new sources I wasn't aware of. A new book to look out for: the letters between KM and Minerva Van Zandt. Being edited and I hope is published soon. The talk by Terry Alford on Booth and the assassination of Lincoln was very good. Very indepth information and background on Booth. Information you don't get from the History channel programs :). I also found the session on Bernard Bee Jr. very entertaining.

The obligatory "home front" papers were interesting. One paper was on the effect of the war on the home front, basically the same that I did for the Harrisburg conference even with the same sources, but with a completely different thesis. In this talk there was a lot of starvation and lives turned upside down. Sounded like she was talking about the upper south rather than Texas. She seemed to take the experience of people in Galveston and Corpus Christi and apply it to the entire state. Even one of the other speakers addressed this saying it was hard, a challenge, but nothing like what they experienced in other southern states.

I also enjoyed the session on the German population and their experiences in the war. But again, not much new information. I did learn quite a bit during the Latino topic session. That is a population I have not yet researched. There was an interesting session on Sally Skull; a kind of first person performance. Some of the speakers took roles of some of Skull's relatives, husbands, and acquaintences  and commented on her life. It sounded like a lot of what they read was taken from letters, diairies and other period accounts. An interesting way to explore a person's life and discuss contradicting accounts.

The rest of the sessions concentrated on military and reconstruction topics. There were a few books there, but I either have them or were not a topic of interest.

Next weekend I'm going to a symposium on material culture of the mid-19th century south. I'm hoping it meets my expectations; the topics sound wonderful. After that, events dry up. There is Imprisoned on the Frontier in November but I think money is going to be an issue getting up there so I may have to pass. Not much else on the calendar. Leaves me time for research.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Change of Plans

A slight change in things is causing me to miss Texian Market Days next weekend. However, it is allowing me to go to the The Civil War in Texas: Changing Interpretations After 150 Years in Victoria, Texas. I will miss TMD and playing dress up for the weekend, but the conference I think will be a great experience and lots of great information. Once again I'm finding I'm getting more out of research and true living history events rather than playing a dressed up docent and going to mainstream events, so I think this is a turn for the best anyway.

AAR after the weekend.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Got Sprouts

My experiment in period gardening is working at least for two of the crops: Cucumbers and radishes

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Seeds are sowed

This afternoon we cleaned the plot, broke up the dirt and sowed seeds: peas, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, and carrots. All period varieties from Landrum Seeds. Of course I forgot my camera, so no photos. We discovered an abandoned eggplant plant bearing fruit. Some may be thinking we've started late, yet a bit. But Texas' growing season can be quite long and sources are saying end of September to November 1 for planting our choices. So we'll see. We may get nothing, squirrels may eat everything, they may freeze or we'll have a great bounty in the spring.

The plots are a bit difficult to plant in as they are called kitchen gardens but planted as ornamental. So we're working around edging plants and a center plant we can't remove. We oly planted part of the plot with the vegies as we plan to plant herbs in the spring.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Shoe Making Workshop

This past weekend a few of us here in Texas attended a mid-19th Century shoe making workshop conducted by Cody Mobley at Pioneer Farms in Austin. First I wish to say how gracious the site is for hosting us for our workshop and events. They allowed us to use their structures for the workshop and to stay in for the weekend. I also put out many kudos to Cody for volunteering to lead this workshop and producing the patterns and soles. He is a great instructor and an asset to the hobby!

The workshop began in Saturday morning but some of us stayed the night on Friday on site. Staying at the site is always a wonderful convenience. The braying of the donkeys singing us to sleep and the thumping of the site cat, Peanut Butter, running down the hall of the Bell house to wake us up.
soaking soles
The workshop was held at the Aynesworth house. We went up early to make sure all was ready and set the soles to soaking. Not everyone that had registered attended but we had, including Cody, 13, I think. Cody started out giving us an overview of the tools and materials used. Cody provided the necessary needles and threads. He had, prior to the workshop, produced sized patterns for our uppers. So we then started cutting out our uppers from the fabric we chose. I had chosen a green wool. It is a beautiful fabric. Once they were cut we started sewing them together with a back stitch. After the uppers were together we attached the toe and heel foxing and then the heel stiffener. For easier sewing the stiffeners were soaked prior to sewing. The foxing was sewn with a straight stitch and the stiffener just whip stitched.
Foxing attached
At lunch break I took Cody to a local Joanne’s to get cotton drill for the linings as he didn’t receive his order in time. Yes, we went in period dress. The looks!! It was hilarious. One woman obviously buying her Halloween costume, looked at us and said “You obviously have this costuming thing down, what do you think of this?"
Upper lined and bound
After we got back Cody started cutting out the linings as we finished up the uppers, foxing and stiffeners. Then we stitched the lining in the same way as the uppers. Once done we basted the lining to the uppers at the top, along the bottom and the side slit. The top and slit edges were then bound. We were given the option of using cotton tape or Cody would strip some of our fabric for binding. I chose to use the tape as a contrast. This is about as far as I got the first day. It doesn’t sound like much but sewing on the leather took quite a bit of time. So closed the first day of the workshop.
That evening some of us decided to out to dinner rather than stay on site. We all wanted large classes of water and tea. Yup, in period dress and more funny looks. When we returned to Pioneer Farms we all went to our respective structures for the evening. Vicki and I shared the Bell house. The evening was warmer than the night before and it was hard to get to sleep. Later in the evening a man who had been walking his dogs down the dry creek that runs into the property called out and said he couldn’t figure out how to get out of the site. Apparently the women in the cabin had a skunk experience that night and the gentlemen in the barn dealt with the horses, so fun all around.
The next morning we got up early; Vicki had brought her suffragette outfit and I wanted a picture. It is so cute! She looks so perfect in it.
Vicki Betts suffragette
The workshop started again at 9:00 and the day was already hat and humid. We lost a couple of participants and a couple more came but not in period dress; it was just too hot. This day consisted of the sole and turning the shoe. It was also museum day and the site was open free with several other activities going on, so there were tons of visitors coming in and out watching what we were doing.
Attaching the sole
Cody had already made the soles, punched and grooved them for us. He also started the threads attaching the sole. The sole was attached using a walking stitch consisting of two threads and needles. This, for me, was the most difficult part of the process. Even though the soles were soaked, the sewing was tough and I didn’t get the hang of the stitching right off. But I got it done.
Sewing the toe
Turning the shoe

The shoe was then set out to soak for a bit before it was put on the foot and the toe sewn and trimmed. Getting this wet wool over the stocking feet was a chore. We all laughed as we struggled to get the shoes on. Cody sewed the toes and then the shoe was set to soak again for easier turning. Cody also turned them for us. Once turned, the shoe was put on again, more struggle and laughter. This was done to stretch the wool to the foot. Since we didn’t have the eyelets done yet, Cody stitched the slits up as if laced. We left the shoes on until they dried. Once dried they slipped right on, no struggle. 
Turned shoe
Garrett's slippers
Most of us only got one shoe done, minus the lacing eyelets. Rather than lacing I’m putting elastic in mine for gaiters as my ankles are bigger than the pattern and lacing would be impractical. Vicki and Garret both finished their shoes and slippers respectively.
Vicki's shoes

I really enjoyed the workshop even though my fingers hurt and I allowed myself to become dehydrated. Thanks much again to both Cody and Pioneer Farms for making the workshop possible!

Additional photos can be found here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Long time no write

Been awhile since I've written. The gardening has been a no go for the last month, just too hot down here. But seeds are ordered and will be planted by the first of October.

Started planning my conference dress. Can't give away the fabric but I can share inspiration.
Y'all have to come back after March 4th or so to get the details.
Shoe workshop coming up; report will be posted next week.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Experimental Archeology

I've been thinking about added to some research done by Vicki Betts on the kitchen gardens of the lower South. Along with this I wanted to plant a period kitchen garden just to see how it would work, what's involved etc. My office is in a complex of historic structures, one built in the 1850s. Recently the courtyard area was restructured into a garden area and the staff were allowed to adopted plots and plant. So, I am adopting a plot and along with a co-worker, putting in a kitchen garden of sorts. At least the plants will be those that were mentioned in diaries transcribed by Vicki and varieties that were available prior to 1860.

I'll post entries on the progress as I move along, probably not many in period dress as most work will be done at work. More information on Vicki's garden research can be found at

Friday, August 5, 2011

Internet radio station

Did it. I started an Internet radio station for 1850s and 60s music. You can find it at and search for Hoopskirts and Frockcoats.
Only about an hour up right now, but working on more.

Friday, July 29, 2011

1860s meets 2011

I'm thinking of broadcasting an internet radio station and play music from the 1860s. I thought this might be a way to further educate about the time period and share the music of the time with others. I'm thinking of calling it Top 40 of the 1860s; too corny? Some of my music is in tape format so I need to get it converted. I'll keep you updated on how things go.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Just slightly off topic-Va, W. Va, Dc & Md trip

Took a last minute trip to visit my friend in DC. Got an obscenely low fare, so had to go. First thing to say it was hot. The week before was beautiful, and the day I left was not so bad, but while I was there....yuck! I'll add this was the same weekend as the 150th Manassas so I was really feeling it for those souls dealing with the heat.

I arrived early Saturday, like 1:30 am. So needless to say late start on Saturday. We headed out to Clinton to visit the Mary Surratt house. Nice tour, loved the house. There was a nice exhibit of some material culture stuff in the visitor's center. Heard a few "myths" along the tour, but nothing too terrible. We asked the locals where there was a good place to eat and headed for Texas BBQ something...can't remember the exact name. I was a little hesitant, I'm in Maryland and we're going to eat somewhere with Texas in the name. However, it was a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives site; my mom would be so proud. I had a hot dog, Angie had ribs and pork chop sampler. They were good, I wouldn't go out of my way to go there again, but if you're in Clinton, it is a safe choice.

After Clinton we drove on to Alexandria. I love this town. So much of the old structure is still there. Our intent was to visit the Lee-Fendall house but it was closed by the time we got there. So instead we drove around looking at the architecture and visited the Old Torpedo Factory, which is now artist studios. Driving back from Alexandria, we passed by Arlington and decided to stop. The tour trams were still running so hopped on. Made it to the tomb of the Unknowns just in time for the changing of the guard and my camera to run out of power. It was such a touching ceremony. I had never seen the change and was impressed. It was so hot and so humid and these guys didn't even appear to break a sweat. The tram didn't stop at Arlington house as it was so late. After leaving Arlington we headed back to Rockville. We had dinner at the Silver Diner. Then home to bed.

Sunday, another late start but headed back to Alexandria to tour the Lee-Fendall house. Great house and the tour was well done. Lot's of information about the Lees and their neighbors. Very enjoyable. We had lunch at Gadsby's Tavern. The food was pretty good, and the atmosphere enjoyable. Didn't take the museum tour as we wanted to head out to Harpers Ferry.

LOVE IT!!! Of course we arrived late in the day, just at closing, but walked around and now I have to go back! When it's cooler. On the ride home was got stuck on the bridge over the Shenandoah due to an accident. Sat there for a bit and listened to my new CW music CD. Got back to Rockville and had dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in Town Center. Very good.

Monday I was on my own for a bit so Angie dropped my off at the Metro and I went into the District to visit the Archives for look for information for a friend. This was not a pleasant experience. The first thing I'm getting my researcher card, reading the orientation PowerPoint and the woman working in this area is talking on the phone about family drama. Loud enough that I had a hard time concentrating on what I was reading and I now know everything about how drunk a family member was at a funeral and how her mother dissed her! Really? So I get my card and go to the finding aids room. They were busy, maybe 5 or 6 people in there. The first assistant I encountered pointed me to some books, "look here." OK. I think I found what I wanted then one of the blue coat assistants came to help me; she, she said, was not a specialist in the area I was looking. So instead of helping me she proceeded to do everything in her power to make me look stupider than she was. I had my fill when she got irritated because I didn't know the person I received a phone message from, Albert or Alfred, was also known as Jack. That was all I could do. Told her to request a pull on the book I knew should have the info and I'd deal with the rest at another time.

I still had no luck as the volume didn't have the information I was looking for but I did run into a friend from the Genteel Arts conference and I got a researchers card, but it may be some time before I return there for help.

After leaving the Archives I walked over to the National Gallery. I had lunch in their cafe, expensive but nice. This was a great visit after the Archive fiasco. Great art, great building, started to rain outside, a nice way to spend the afternoon. After Angie was done with work I took the Metro back to Rockville and we visited a couple of book stores. We had dinner at Palena in DC. Great food, slow service, but a nice dinner. On the way back to Rockville, we're stopped by DC police; it appeared the rental car's registration had expired. They didn't give us a ticket but did give Angie a heart attack teasing her that her license had been suspended. Now Angie is a very law abiding person, so this was a huge "WHAT?!" moment. The cop then said he was just teasing, gave her back her license and sent us on our way.

Tuesday was last day and the weather was beautiful. It cooled down quite a bit. We had to go back to the rental place and exchange cars. The first one they were going to give us also had an expired tag. We finally get on our way and had for the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Another great gallery, with a great book store. Visited one last bookstore before heading to the airport. The flight home was crowded. A woman behind me from San Diego apparently thought very little about Texas and wanted to whole plane to know it.

This trip has made me realize I don't want to work in DC and live outside. I don't think I could handle the commuting. I really need to look for something with access to the DC area but not in the area. So much traffic, parking issues, etc. I really enjoy that part of the country and now have to plan my next trip to go back to Harpers Ferry.

More pictures of my trip are here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I'm off to DC next week! Actually Maryland to visit a friend but plan to visit the district, Library of Congress, and the Archives. Also Mary Surratt's house and Harper's Ferry. I love that part of the country and I haven't seen my friend for awhile so it will be very nice to catch up and have a slow blissful couple of days to visit.

In addition the 19th Century Shoe workshop is up and ready for registrations. Cody is so gracious to assist with this. It should also be a great weekend in September. Looking into February and it's the Beast of Burden workshop hosted by Barrington Living History Farm. Looks like the reenacting season will be off to a good start in Texas.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Warning: self pitying whine ahead!

Been busy working on bran bags for pincushion brinks, finished a chemise and have the shoe workshop confirmed. Slowly climbing out of the self pity on the cut from full time to part time hours. It's very disheartening; I feel like somehow I lost, that I wasn't worthy. I know others are in the same boat or worse; I've just never been in this position and am having a hard time coming to terms. Applying for other full time positions, which keeps reminding me that this is real.

So to help alleviate some of this a good friend is flying me out to DC to visit. I can't wait. I've been there before but this trip is coming when I really need it. Several events beginning in September, then conference...this should all help me stay focused and remind me that I do have something to contribute and I am worthy, intelligent and capable.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kudos for Into the Fray

Pioneer Farms, the site that hosted Into the Fray included a write up about the event in their newsletter. Apparently the visitors really enjoyed it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer time projects

With the heat over 100 for several days now, I've cocooned myself into the house. No events down here, so while I wait for sewing for conference I've started making new underwear. First up a chemise. I like very simple undergarments, tucks are the most decoration. After that, drawers and then maybe a nightgown.

I decided to use a pattern for the chemise rather than make one so I'm using Simplicity 2890. I haven't used this one before so I thought I would, plus it's the first one I found digging through my patterns.

Other irons in the fire include a shoe making class that a friend, Cody Mobley, is going to present. He makes wonderful shoes. Here is one of a pair he made for his girlfriend.

The class should be fun. Back to sewing and get ready to watch Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Texas' grumpy season

The reenacting season has come to a close in Texas. We just don't do much down here in the summer. This gives us a nice reprieve to sew, mend and read, which is how I plan to spend the summer.

Next year will be interesting. I have been told I am going down to part-time at my job due to budget constraints September 1. There are two ways I can look at this: be bummed about the money loss or be energized about the extra time. While the money will be an issue, it just means tighter budgeting, until it bites into my living history activities :). But now I do have more time to volunteer at some living history sites, read, sew, take another part-time job to feed the habit. I'm a bit bummed over the loss of benefits I had with my longevity and the fact that others with less time are keeping their full time positions. But I'm hoping in the long run this will be a good thing and open up opportunities I would not have explored before. That's what I'm supposed to think, right?

Monday, May 23, 2011

New acquisition

With all the event stuff I forgot to mention my new CDV. Nothing fancy except it is by a traveling photographer or artist so he calls himself.

Into the Fray: 1861

This past weekend was the second on a series of civilian centered events following the 150th of the Civil War. The scenario for this year's event was a recruiting and mustering event held in the town of Sprinkle, yes there really was a town called Sprinkle in the area of the event site. The event was held at Pioneer Farms in Austin, Texas.

We began arriving Friday afternoon. It was hot and humid, as was pretty much the whole weekend. It's events like this that make you appreciate modern technology. In the early evening we had a short how-to lesson on properly using the wood stove in the Bell house, since few of us in the house had used a wood stove before. This "contraption" proved to be the bane of Mrs. Betts' weekend, more on that later. The evening brought in a tremendous thunderstorm. What a light show! It was wonderful. The buildings held tight and all remained dry, except for those who arrived during the storm :). The storm cooled down the air a bit, but by bed time the humidity was back. I laid awake fanning until I finally went to sleep.

The event officially started at 7:00 Saturday morning. We were all up fairly early to take advantage of the cooler air. Breakfast was simple, bread and jam, and fruit.

Saturday was spent visiting, listening to Mr. Nix read the papers, and listening to Mrs. Betts in the kitchen cursing the new fangled stove.

The gentlemen of the town, or at least some, enlisted in the militia and spent most of the day drilling.

Other men, not so inclined to enlist found other ways to spend the day.

In the evening, a dinner was served for the militia. It was a pot luck and included pan fried squash, ham, apple sauce, pickled eggs, cole slaw, bread, peaches, melon, corn bread, pound cake, corn on the cob, and cheese. The gentlemen ate their fill and then some. Sorry, forgot to get pictures of the spread, but it was amazing, a full table.

One of the young men was missing his senior prom to attend this event so we gave him a period prom at the tavern on Saturday night complete with boutonniere and dancing.

Everyone seemed to have a great time enjoying the music throughout the night.

Sunday morning was very low key. We didn't have church as there was no preacher. So we sat on the porch until it was time for the presentation of the unit flag.

Sunday at 11:00 Miss Victoria delivered a moving speech upon the presentation of a flag to the militia. For the life of me I can't find a copy of it; I'll try to get one and post it. Captain Mobley gave a wonderful response. It was touching and the flag, made by Cody Mobley was very well done.After the flag presentation the militia retreated to their quarters to gather their equipment for their march to Austin. As they pasted the Bell House, Miss Victoria played Dixie on the organ.

It was a great event and received well by the participants, the visitors and the site. I just wish the weather had not been so draining. Taking a short break before considering the next one :).

Oh yes, the dress, managed to hook a nail and caused a small tear in the skirt but easy enough to patch.

More pictures here and others have posted several on Facebook.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Sans petticoats. Hopefully better pictures at the event next weekend.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Belt buckle

The beautiful belt buckle I got really didn't go so well with the new Spring dress. So now I'm cannibalizing a mother of pearl one I had on another dress; it's just not big enough though. I'll have to do for the event coming up as I have no time to get a new one.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Trim applied

On an ill-fitting form. I haven't applied the sleeve trim yet.