Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas at the Park

Note: Due to a massive ice-storm this last week here in Michigan which included taking out our power for four days, my posting of this has been delayed. Also, I procrastinate badly. :) At long last, here it is!

Merry Christmas!

I hope you and all your family and friends are well this holiday season. Please stay safe in your travels and best of wishes to you for the new year!

Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of the year. The snow is falling down outside while the woodstove keeps us warm indoors. The Christmas tree is up and decorated, and the stockings are hung. However, one shouldn't stay inside eating Christmas cookies all day, so what better place to visit than Charlton Park?

Their annual event, Of Christmas Past, is one of my favorite times to visit during the year. The whole village is decorated, and with the snow gracefully making its way down out of the sky, it is truly beautiful.

The store fronts are ready to receive any last-minute shoppers.
The general store has everything you need to prepare Christmas dinner. Note the Bowens Mills flour.

If you still need a present or two, there are still a few things left in the store...

The Sixberry House is a good place to warm up - plus they have cookies baked in the kitchen wood-stove!

The cobwebs were strung in the parlor with care, in hopes that Christmas guests would soon be there...

The cobweb game is simple - you receive one end of a string, then you follow it around the room to the end where you find a small prize.

The perfect spot to curl up with a good book

The Bristol Inn

 The blacksmith's shop is on the left (red building), with the carpenter's on the right. They both had demonstrations going on. The carpenter's had a working 1840's lathe that was very interesting to see!

The Lee School, circa 1869

I thought these were interesting. Once again, you can click on them to make them bigger. 

That's it for the pictures. Have a very Happy New Year!

(This picture is not from the most recent ice storm. We had a good bit more ice than in the picture - I just wanted to add that.)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Upcoming Projects (And Ones Already Started)

As promised, here is the post with pictures of my fabric.

This was the fabric I originally wanted to make an 1860's day dress out of after seeing it at the fabric store. Unfortunately, it is an out of print fabric, so after searching to the ends of the earth (and then some!) for more fabric than the 4 and 3/4 yards the fabric store had, I gave up. Mom and myself went back up to the fabric store and she ended up using some of what they had to make a work apron for herself. 

I decided to make a work dress for myself out of this fabric:

The picture is pretty close to what it actually looks like. It's kind of an army green, with burnt-orange and black leaves. We tried and tried to find an orange cotton that looked at least somewhat historically-correct for an apron, but ended up going with a black and green print instead. (Yes, it is black, not navy blue)

Don't mind the weird, blue ruler. I was trying (and failed) to get the picture the correct shade. The green of this print matches the green of the previous. 

And then my slat bonnet fabric:

This fabric is a little bit darker in real life. More of a dusty blue-grey. I have already sewn up my slat bonnet and love it! I used the free pattern from the Sewing Compendium's website. The only thing I would change about the pattern is that they said the yardage for a bonnet was 3/4 of a yard. I was able to squeeze out my bonnet with only one piecing, but you are left with only a few square inches of fabric. I had to make my interior ties out of twill tape. I would recommend buying an extra 1/8 of a yard, just to give yourself a little to work with. The pattern was very easy to put together, however, with easy step-by-step instructions and lots of pictures. 

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I found some blue wool for my 1900's swimsuit. I don't have a picture of it to show you, but it's in the middle of a navy blue and a royal blue. I'm still debating if I can wash it in hot water or not... Having felted wool in the past, I know the results when you mix wool with a little bit of soap and a lot of agitation. I would like to be able to go into hot tubs with it, but that may not be an option.

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Right now, I am working on a completely different time period than I usually do. This Halloween, I was going to make myself an entirely new dress, but then I decided being a suffragette was a lot less work, so I went with that. You may remember this teaser I posted a while back: 

Here is a picture of the entire project while I was working on it:

 And my finished costume:

Anyhow, to get back on subject, I am currently sewing a Medieval dress for myself out of Butterick 4827. From my scant week or so of research, I have concluded that it is not very historically correct. Ah well... It will only be a Halloween costume anyways. :) (No, I'm not going to tell who I'm going to be next year!) I picked out some lovely crushed velvet that was on sale. It's so soft. Velvet dresses are so much fun to wear! 

So far, I have the main part of the dress sewn together. It only took me three days, which I think is the fastest I've ever sewn a dress! I just need to attach the sleeves and hem it. I have run across one small dilemma in the process, however. As you may know, velvet can be heavy. When you make a princess-seamed dress out of a stretch velvet, the weight of the skirt pulls the neckline down a good inch or so. *sigh* If I had known that in advance, I would have cut it higher, but as it is, I wouldn't feel comfortable wearing it. Hmm...

I've been looking into different options of fixing it without making it obvious that I've pieced it. I think that I'm going to add a crescent-moon shaped piece of fabric to raise the neckline, then put trim on the old neckline and the new neckline to hid the piecing. We'll see how it turns out. 

I also took in the sleeves a full two inches most of the way up, to make them more form-fitted and period-correct. 

That's about all that's new with me. I miss going to reenactments on the weekends. Oh yes! I almost forgot. Here are my two newest acquisitions:

Sorry for the funny angle. The flash kept wanting to bounce back.
I'm guessing this tintype is late 1880's to early 1890's. You can click on it to make it bigger. I wish I knew who they were. There are no markings on the back aside from a few barely readable numbers scratched into the metal. (16965) He looks like an Olaf to me. Any guesses on what her name might have been?

I like how they were outside for their picture. You can see the folding chair he was sitting on, and the light at the base of the backdrop where it doesn't quite meet the grass. I love his tie and suit and her dress. I thought it looked like she had a scalloped edge on her dress with a ruffle behind it?

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I think this one is my favorite of the two. I wonder who she was? A soldier's sweetheart or wife? A widower's only daughter who moved out of state? Did she have siblings or was she an only child? How old did she live to be? Did she ever marry? What was her favorite season and her favorite dress? Did she have any pets? What was her name? Did she have a nickname? What was her personality like? 
Who was she?

The glass needs to be cleaned (on both layers!), but I'm afraid of damaging it. More research required... Once again, you can click on the picture to make it bigger. The case front was separated when I bought it, but it's the original front. The latch on it still works. 

This one screams "1860's!" to me. I especially like the pattern on her dress. It's a small stripe with some sort of two-color floral or leaf design over top. I would have liked to see the colors. I originally thought the trim was a pleated ribbon trim, but it looks like the middle on it is a thinner, non-pleated strip. I also like the ribbon at her neck (with contrasting ribbons at the end?), her off-center belt, and her asymmetrical hair ribbon. 

I hope you are well, dear reader and enjoying the start of winter. The ground is still bare here. I wish we would get some snow to lighten up the dreary days, though I suppose it will come soon enough!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bowens Mill

This previous weekend, myself and some of the family headed over to Bowens Mill, for one of the last reenactments of the year. Bowens Mill is a working 1864 Grist Mill and Cider Mill. The site has 19 acres of beautiful wooded property, along with several historic buildings. They have an 1850's schoolhouse, an 1840's house, several log cabins, and the beautiful 1860's Bowens' house, which is still in use today.

The weather was a bit on the chilly side. I wore my bonnet, but I almost could have worn my hood. The majority of the trees had turned, making for some lovely scenery!

The inside of the mill and the knowledgable miller! He ground some corn into cornmeal while we watched, as well as giving us an overview of how the mill worked.
The lovely hitching post

Here you can see another view of my bonnet, a pair of cute little ponies, and the gray yarn that I purchased. I think a pair of proper garters will be first on my list of things to knit!

The 1860's (built and furnished) Bowens' house was also open for touring.
This is how my dream home will look someday...

I had a very fun summer of reenacting. I can say that I am most definitely hooked! I finished a complete set of undergarments, a bonnet and a winter hood, as well as taking apart my bodice and re-fitting it. I still need to take the top of skirt up another inch or two to get my waistline sitting at the proper height, but that can wait until the winter months. 
My cringe worthy, pre-reenacting picture on the left, and the result of a season of reenactments on the right. I, for one, am quite pleased with how far I've come. I hope next year will be just as productive!

The next post will be a peek at my next 1860's work dress! (Or slat bonnet, or apron, depending on which I start on first.) My Halloween costume will make an appearance as well.