Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hopewell Furnace Preparation

I get to go to the Into the Eye of the Storm event the end of May!! The event is held at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Pennsylvania; not too far from my friend in West Chester. I'm so excited! It will be a different impression than I usually do--working class, no hoops. Thank goodness as I don't think my hoops will survive another suitcase trip.

So now I need to prepare my wardrobe. I need another pair of drawers for sure, check on what I have for an apron, I have petticoats and chemises, stockings, sunbonnet...but I want a new dress...of course.

I plan to use the green check homespun I had purchased some time ago for the Piney Woods event I never made it to. I am going to use the Fig Leaf Pattern 201 that I picked up at the Harrisburg Conference.

But drawers first. If it comes down to time and I can't finish the green check I still have the blue and white homespun I can wear.

Drawer fabric is done drying so off to cut patterns!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 7 Conference Trip: Going Home

March 5, 2013

Angie had planned to drive to Virginia Beach this morning, but a heavy storm was predicted so she cancelled her trip. We had a late check out so we lounged. Angie made some work calls and I slept on and off trying to fight the plague. I felt bad as it was such a waste of a day for her with me sick in bed.

Eventually we had to check out. My flight didn't leave until 5:00 but Angie had to take the car back and stock up for the potential storm so I had her just drop me off at the airport.

The check in staff at Delta in Philadelphia were the rudest, most unhelpful, sarcastic group of people I ever had the displeasure of working with; actually telling one customer they wouldn't help her and making snide comments about how heavy my bag was (under the weight limit). But I at least got the bag checked and headed for my gate. UPDATE: I emailed Delta about my experience and received a personal response and Skymiles for the inconvenience. Hopefully their statement of following up with the team was not hot air.

Time went by fairly quickly; I wondered around to some of the shops and read. Time came around for my flight and there was a maintenance issue and delay again. Too long delayed to make my connection in Memphis so I was rerouted to Atlanta.

I had paid for an upgrade to Economy Comfort to Memphis but did not get it to Atlanta. When I explained the situation in Atlanta I was given the upgrade to Austin. I had the whole row to myself. The flight left from the international terminal and the plane was a wide body. Another UPDATE: They refunded the cost of upgrade as well! So Delta had some issues, but they did try to make it right in the end.

Nice trip home. So ends another conference trip. I already have hotel reservations for next year!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 6 Conference Trip: Tea and Flower Show

March 4, 2013

A leisurely start to the day. The Plague is still with me but Alka Seltzer Plus is helping me along the way. We decided to get a hotel room near the airport in Philadelphia for convenience for the next day as Angie had planned to head to Virginia Beach. This also meant she needed to get a rental car. So while I showered she went to pick up the car. I asked when she returned what she got and all I got in return "it runs, you'll see when we go."

So we packed up and headed the lap of luxury! Angie rented a Mercedes GLK. OMG!! Nice car. A little disappointed with the data port availability, but it rides nice. So on to Philadelphia.

We got an early check in so we were able to drop off stuff and relax a bit. Angie had some work stuff to do and since I was still coldish it was nice down time. We had a light lunch at the hotel and about 2:00 headed into town for tea.
Tea was at the Rittinhouse hotel, across from Rittinhouse park. Great neighborhood, wonderful architecture, cold walk from the parking garage. The usual tea room is being renovated but the room they used temporarily had a nice view of the park. The tea service was beautiful and the food very tasty. I usually do not like tea but I choose a citrus blend that was rather good. Random photos of Philadelphia are here.

After tea we headed to the flower show. Angie was able to get comp tickets good after 3:00. The show was at the convention center. So many beautiful exhibits! The theme was Britain. One exhibit was an interpretation of Big Ben. On the hour a video would play on the clock face which highlighted the British music invasion from the Beatles to Led Zepplin to Adam Ant. There were some pictures that looked like paintings but were all done with flowers. Another exhibit included literary interpretations of Jane Austen, Dracula, and Beatrix Potter. I was a bit disappointed in the Austen one. It became a little overwhelming after awhile :) I'm really glad I was able to go, even though I felt like caca. More pictures of the show here.

As we left the show, some type of emergency shut down the parking garage and we ended up hanging out at in the Hilton lobby next door and watched the fire truck. When we got back to the hotel I went straight to bed heavily medicated.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 5 Conference Trip: Conference End

March 3, 2013

Woke up to snow! Can't see it in the pictures, but there are snow flakes coming down.

Sunday starts a little later on Sundays. Breakfast was the same as Saturday but with bacon. The originals are changed out on this day as well. The first session was on gardens of the 19th century. Very informative but mostly concentrating on the north.

The second session was on the Hunley, a Confederate submarine, and it's signal light. Some believe that the light was of a lantern; however, the speaker has researched the subject and determined the "blue light" was pyrotechnics. This is not a subject I was particularly interested in; however, the research was very well done.

This ended the conference. Carolann announced that special activities will take place next year for the 20th anniversary. Also next year the needlework competition will be a doll. I'm thinking of doing a mammy or Topsy Turvey doll. I made my room reservation for next year as I checked out this year.

Angie came to pick us up and we drove to Gettysburg to have lunch at the Dobbin House. One of the few places in town not centered in the Civil War, it is colonial in theme, with great food.

After lunch we dropped Nancy at the airport and Angie and I made our way back to West Chester. By this time I was feeling the "Conference plague" that several of us left the conference with.

However we did have a nice drive stopping at a kitschy Amish tourist trap (not apparently ran by Amish, enjoying the scenery and seeing several buggies along the way.
Later that evening we went out and had dinner at a new Italian restaurant Angie wanted to try. Early to bed to get rid of the cold.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 4 Conference Trip: Full Day of Sessions and the Ball

March 2, 2013

Conference days start early. Breakfast at 7:00 and sessions start at 8:00. But breakfast is usually good. Today there were breakfast breads, scrambled eggs, sausage, and hash browns.
The day began, as is tradition, with the presentation of speakers dresses and vests. When you speak or conduct a workshop at this conference you are sent a dress length of fabric (if a woman) or enough fabric for a vest (if a man). Then on Saturday morning the faculty shows off their garment. It amazing the different styles of garments one fabric can make.
This year's dress fabric was lovely. I really liked it. It was a cotton vertical print on a cream colored background. The vest fabric was a dark cotton velvet. Additional pictures of the speakers' garments can be found on Photobucket.

The days sessions begin after the garment display. There are two session tracks, one of more female interest topics and one male. Since I can't attend both tracks I purchase the notebook handouts for both tracks and usually attend the "female" track.

The first session was decoding CDVs by Beth Miller. The premise was determining the date of the CDV based on the clothing and headwear styles of the ladies. While I think I have this pretty well, I loved looking at all the CDV examples she had.

Between each session are breaks to look at and photograph the originals on display.

The second morning session was on servants of the 19th century by Kelly Dorman. This was a really well researched session and I enjoyed it very much.

 Lunch on Saturday is provided. Soups and make your own sandwiches, chips and cookies. There is usually enough time during the lunch break to go shopping, and I did. I bought a dress pattern, bonnet pattern, the Diary of Miss Emma Holmes, some bees' wax and a Harpers Weekly reproduction for our living history in November.

My roomie snagged some cookies from lunch for the afternoon session, which was on winter clothing presented by Carolann Schmidt. Again great information and wonderful CDV images.

At the last few conferences a ball has been given after dinner. So of course I took my new black silk dress and all the necessary equipment. Once the afternoon session was over, it was up to the room to change centuries.

On the registration we can choose to be seated with someone or let Carolann just place you at a table. I choose to be seated wherever Carolann decides; this way I meet so many other people. This year I was seated with a group from Michigan and a couple from New York. Dinner is the usual hotel catered meal--chicken, veggies, carrot cake.

After dinner we clear the room so that it can be prepared for the ball. This is a time to really admire everyone's dress, get pictures and visit. Different decades and styles of the 19th Century are represented.

While we were waiting for the ball to be set up Martha McCain came up to me and complimented me on my dress and said she wished she had done the pattern. Martha was the first pattern designer for Simplicity when they started doing the historic patterns and is much respected in the hobby.

The ball is fun; even if I don't dance I really enjoy listening to the band, Smashing Windows, and watching the fun.

We didn't stay very long, only for the first set. Additional pictures of the ball can be found on Photobucket.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Day 3 Conference Trip: Workshops and Opening Session

March 1, 2013

Workshop day! My first workshop was patriotic cockades conducted by Colleen Fromby. Mine didn't turn out as well as I would have liked; made my pleats too big. I have plenty of ribbon to do another and more Texas buttons.
 After the workshop I was able to have lunch with a friend from Michigan who I only see at this conference.

My next workshop was on different 19th century bodice styles with Carolann Schmitt. It was great to see all the different images presented and the handouts were wonderful.

My traveling companion arrived just as the session was ending and proposed a pizza party for dinner. We invited a friend from NY, who is on her own at the conference, to join us. We had a lively time with pizza and chocolate and gossip.

The official opening session included a talk in Internet research sources and the development of the men's ready made garment industry; I enjoyed them both.

And of course the first round of original garments were up.

Additional photos of the originals can be found on Photobucket.

As always as well, my roommate, who comes with me every year to this conference, and I stayed up too late.

Day 2 Conference Trip: West Chester and Conference Arrival

Feb. 28, 2013

Started the day at the Chester County Historical Society. I really like this museum/library and it is only a block over from my friend's apartment! There is currently a Civil War and paper doll exhibit. Both are small but well done.

Part of the Civil War exhibit includes cards of "characters". A brief biography of the person is on the back of the card; however, the characters populate the exhibit and additional information on the person is presented. Very cool idea.

Also part of the exhibit includes CDVs of people, I think primarily from Chester Co. These are grouped as a display on the wall of one of the exhibits. One of these CDVs is of an older woman, probably into her 60s wearing a white blouse and skirt combo with lace gloves! A picture of all the "don't" and "didn't". Sorry the picture is not so good; it is quite high in the exhibit and I couldn't get a good angle on it.   

There is one dress in this exhibit. However, while examining one of the permanent exhibits of band boxes one of the staff guessed me for a clothing enthusiast and then let me know that they are working on a clothing exhibit to open around the fall. The CCHS is known to have an amazing textile collection so I will need to plan another trip then!

I'm not much into paperdolls, but there are some early versions in the exhibit including some from the 18th century and a couple from the 1860s.

The museum has great permanent exhibits on Chester County as well and I suggest a visit if you have a chance. It's only a nominal entrance fee, a great way to spend a couple of hours and within walking distance of several eateries so you can make a day of it.

The cool thing about where my friend lives in West Chester is that she is within walking distance of so many things. After leaving the CCHS I made my way to a little boutique chocolate store, but stopped off first at Starbucks for a coffee and a chocolate chip cookie. West Chester has some really nice architecture and makes for a nice walk.
Chocolate!! There is a nice little shop in West Chester, deemed one of the best by Bon Appetit magazine. Eclat Chocolate. My conference roomie and I always have chocolates for the weekend.

By the time I had accomplished what I wanted to do, my friend was ready to meet up for lunch. There is a cute little deli that we have passed by several times that we decided to try. Three Little Pigs. The food was great, sandwiches, soups, and desserts.

We then headed back to my friend's apartment so I could unload some of my suitcase before heading to Harrisburg and the conference. I took Amtrak to Harrisburg from Exton. This line runs through farm land and little towns including Lancaster.

I really like the Harrisburg train station. I'm not sure why; there are more elegant and architecturally interesting ones.

The conference hotel provides a shuttle from the train station and I only had to wait a short time as he was on a run to the airport. When I arrived at the hotel, I left my bags in my room and met up with a friend at the hotel restaurant for dinner. My roomie would not arrive until Friday afternoon. 

I really like the hotel where the conference is held, the Radisson Harrisburg, actually in Camp Hill across the river. It's an older hotel but comfortable; I always feel welcome when I'm there. However, there are no elevators, and this year our room was over and beyond. Up a flight of stairs, down a hall, up a couple of steps, down the hall some more. Thank goodness we spent little time in the room.

Thursday nights at the conference is the wrapper party. Participants are encouraged to wear their wrappers or dressing gowns. Refreshments are served and there is a parade of wrappers.
This year also included a "sociable" where many participates displayed their talents including period magic tricks, music, and dramatic readings. It was very entertaining and all participants were wonderful. I hope this will continue to be part of Thursday evening. Additional pictures from the wrapper party can be found on Photobucket.
So ended the first day at the Conference. Now for a good night's sleep to be ready for workshops and opening session on Friday.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen of the 1860s Conference: Part 1

Every year I attend the Ladies and Gentlemen of the 1860s Conference in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania hosted by Carolann Schmitt through her company Genteel Arts. This year was no exception. I added a few days to my trip this year in order to visit a friend who lives in West Chester, PA.

For those unfamilar with the conference it is held the first full weekend in March. The conference consists of pre-conference workshops and tours, educational sessions, displays of originals, needlework competition, vendor market place, a Thursday night "pajama party", and a ball Saturday night.

I've broken my AAR up into parts. I'm also including my trip activities not directly living history related; I didn't think anyone would mind. Additional photos from the trip are on Photobucket; from the list on the left choose "Ladies and Gentlemen..", then the first album "1860s Conference..." Because of the way I set up the albums there is no direct link to the whole thing, but I will include individual links to subjects as the topics come up. So let's begin.

Feb. 27, 2013
Got to the airport with time to spare for a 6:00 am flight. First stop was Memphis to catch my connection. My flight time from Memphis changed several times: 8:35, 9:35, 10:10, 10:15, 10:05, 9:50, 10:30. The snowstorm in the Midwest really messed up flights. Plane finally left at 11:00. This all worked out perfect, actually. My friend who I was stopping with overnight was unexpectedly in Philadelphia, had just finished her meeting and was able to pick me up saving me having to haul my luggage onto two trains.

The first thing we did was to drop my luggage at my friend's apartment in West Chester. Then to eat. We went to an Irish pub we had thought of going to but never did. So we walked down to Kildare's on Market. Cool little pub and they gave me a tour. The pub is broken up into different themed rooms: a shop/grog shop, a Celtic room, a rustic home and the Victorian pub room.


The food was pretty good, and we started with some hard cider. I had their French onion burger, which had Swiss cheese, onion spread, lettuce on an onion roll...very good. The food did take a bit too long to come out so they gave us free dessert. Upside down apple pie ala mode.

After eating we went to Wegmans to pickup snacks for the weekend and then back to unload some of the suitcase and relax.