Readers, please pardon this personal post.

_20180216_074301This Valentine’s Day I went to bed with a truly warmed heart. When I took Clara to the vet earlier that day, I thought we were going to be treating hairballs. She was throwing up and had a little diarrhea. I did not expect the next few hours to unfold as they did. Her wonderful Doctor Dan showed me her xray, explaining her intestines were not in the right place, loosely filling the abdominal area. Instead, they were all balled up in one area, sound together with some areas swollen with gas. He explained what we were seeing often means an eaten thread* caused the intestines to draw up on themselves. Knowing just how much thread and other fibers are in the house, hit me in the gut.

After calling Dan to let him know and a few tears with Clara humming Grandpa’s song, her calming, sweet nurse, who’s name I can’t remember, took her back to immediately prep for surgery.

What happened next still has me in aww. The care for our Clara flooded in on FB and in my messages. Clara received gifts from a few people I have never met. I listed a few things I could find quickly on Etsy (the batwing bonnet, my bandeau, lace, gloves, some sewing things.) They were all gone overnight. My shop was empty and my heart full.

By the time I was able to pick her up, I had just the right amount to cover her surgery bill. It was such a blessed feeling to be able to say “yes” and be able to giver Clara what she needs.

We want to give a heartfelt thank you to those who helped these last few days, either financially or emotionally. I appreciate you more than I can say.

As we were leaving, I had the most humbling moment. I think I opened the door with a squee of “home!” I began to walk by a woman was standing at the counter with a toweled bundle wrapped in her arms. She had tears running down her face. My heart caught in my throat. I turned around and hugged her. This was such a heart breaking reminder that this could have easily gone the other way. If we hadn’t called the vet and brought her in, if it hadn’t been caught, if we couldn’t do the surgery. Oh, how I felt for that woman and her toweled bundle.

Now, as you’ve been reading and waiting. How is Clara?

Clara is home now. She is recovering with lots of sleeping and snuggling. She is eating little bits of baby food. This will be her diet for a few days after which we will add in soft canned food. We are going to keep her on a higher moisture diet. (she had been eating dry food in the mornings, wet in the evenings.)  We will be going back today to get her IV catheter out. It stayed just in case. After that, a couple other follow-ups.

There wasn’t anything in her intestines – no string, no wool. Her intestines and omentum were balled/wound up in a ball up in one section of her abdomen. They should be loose, filling her whole abdominal area. The doctor does not know why this happened. Gummy, stickiness is usually from dehydration. She was not dehydrated. So, Clara has yet another mystery. xraysClara is resting and sleeping a lot, as she should for her recovery. Last night she did not leave me at all. She was okay with being next to me, but preferred to be on my shoulder, chest, or neck. I don’t think she likes that I am getting ready for work. I’ll be putting her cone on just in case.



We do not know what caused this or if it can reoccur. Obviously, we hope not.

Published in: on February 16, 2018 at 6:45 am  Comments (2)  

February (Mini) Project

This month’s project is over on Don’t Paint the Cat. I turned an antique pin cushion ball design into a toy for Clara.

Published in: on February 14, 2018 at 7:16 am  Leave a Comment  

The Three Year Rug

My latest project is over on Don’t Paint the Cat. Can I call a project that spanned three years my “latest”?

Please go check out Fallen Snow on a Starry Night.

This is a sewn rug using early nineteenth century techniques with an modern subject.

Published in: on February 12, 2018 at 7:11 am  Leave a Comment  

How They Wore Their Bonnets

A few years ago we looked at how some original women wore their bonnets perched on the backs of their heads as well as how we can also do so. If you missed it, the post was called Got Perch?

This was only one of several ways women wore their bonnets. Today, I would like to look further at how mid-century women wore their bonnets. Let us start with more examples of the bonnet being worn behind the mid-point of the head.

How did they close ups backYou will notice some variation in how far back the bonnet is worn. The two women on the lower left appear to have their bonnet furthest back among the group. These two also happen to have their bonnets angled more than the others. From the views/positions we have, the third woman from the left on the bottom row appears to have a nearly vertical position to the brim and tip. We can not say for certain with the other women; though I suspect the top left may also be nearly vertical. We can also see that most of these women have their flowers reaching further forward than the brim edge of the bonnet. The position of these flowers may help hold the bonnet in place. In the lower right, the flowers can be seen cupping the top of her head. Take a particularly close look at the woman on the lower left. There is a piece photographing white sitting below the flowers/decoration. This may or may not be a stay.

This next group of women are wearing their bonnets at or just forward of their mid-point.

How did they close ups mid forward 2

We see greater variety in the angle of which these bonnets are worn, seeing them worn nearly vertical, angled slightly forward and angled slightly backward. The bottom right and bottom left images show the further forward reach of the spoon bonnet while displaying noticeable difference in the depth, angle and shaping of the crown and tip. In the top left and top right images, we can see how the frill aids in holding the bonnet on.  Again, the flowers are aiding in securing the bonnet to the head. In the bottom row, third from the left, you can see the woman’s flowers reaching down over the hair line. (The lower right image could be considered as wearing her bonnet quite forward.)

In this next group, we see the bonnet worn quite forward of the mid-point.

How did they close ups full forward

Many will notice these women each look more mature. I do not know if this is a coincidence or if there is truly a connection between age and mode yet. I will look further into this. While these bonnets are worn further forward and a couple are rounder, the fashionable spoon shape is present. The bonnet with the daisies, second on the bottom row, demonstrates well how the flowers can hug the top of the head. In several cases, the flowers sit forward enough to reach to or even beyond the hair line. If there is a connection between age and this mode of wearing, there could be further speculation that this positioning of flowers could conceal a thinning part.

The following group was collected as I was looking at untied or partially tied bonnets. These are late 1840s through early 1850s examples. Each either has the ribbons simply looped over each other without a bow or completely untied. Many, if not most, of the women above would have worn their bonnets in this style ten to twenty years previous.

How did they close ups 40 50 not tied

Published in: on February 8, 2018 at 7:30 am  Comments (2)  

New Arrival 

This adorable hat block was waiting for me at my mailbox when I got home. I wasn’t expecting it until Saturday. This was a pleasant surprise. Pocket friendly price and uber-fast ship. Double win. 
This block has a beautiful taper to the crown. The wood is very pretty too. Here Clara holds it in place so you can see the pretty wood and nice taper. 

This isn’t an antique block, but it will help me make a few different historic styles. 

There are Civil War era styles:

And, 1870-80s styles:

If I try to go a couple rows beyond the block, I may be able to pull off this earlier style:

I am planning to bring this block along with my Julie block, with straight sides, for when I interpret straw sewing. They will make a nice comparison. This crown has yet to be named. I have a couple in mind. But, I want to wait until I take the first straw off it. 
I am trying to replace as many of my hand carved foam blocks/forms as possible. Foam becomes misshapen from over use. Wood is much better for me. This is a slow process of finding the right historic shapes at an affordable price. 

Published in: on February 5, 2018 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Mid-Winter Figgle-Faggle

For a little Mid-Winter amusement, may I recommend A Dictionary of Reduplicated Words of the English Language.



And for the more serious…. The Domestic Dictionary and Housekeeper’s Manual.

Published in: on February 1, 2018 at 1:39 pm  Comments (1)  

Monthly Update – January

_20180108_135341I’ve spent most of this month wrapped up in snuggly warm blankets and plucking away at my laptop. I’ve been editing and re-editing To Net or Not to Net: Revisited. As I started the first round of editing the re-write, I decided I just wasn’t going to be happy without the illustrations from fashion columns. To appease myself about image rights, I tracked down original Godey’s Lady’s Book for 1860, 1861, 1862, 1863, and 1864. And bought them.  I sorta oopsed on 1865 because I was distracted editing photos. I am now discovering just how long media mail can take.

This past Saturday, I had every intention of sleeping in in the morning and finding some way to enjoy the 50+ degree weather after a week of testing. I awoke to find hubby checking out the local auctions. Of course, I looked. This one photo of a photo album, opened to show 1860s CDVs inside, caught my eye. It was 9:38. The auction started at 9:30, 30 minutes away. We quickly dressed and headed to the auction. We were there just in time for some thing Dan was watching and to see the $15,000+ comic books sell; then to wait and wait and wait for 3 hours before my box of albums came up. Btw, this three hours was just enough for my previous day’s migraine to start knocking. When I won the box of three albums, two 1860-75 and one 1916-18, for far, far less than a single single album should have gone for, I was quite certain I would find most of the pages empty. I did not open them in the hall. I did not open them in the car. I did not open them before lunch, a much needed lunch. I finally opened them to find nearly every window was full in both albums. The larger album was in incredible shape, while the smaller received some abuse to the spine during the auction. I was actually a bit overwhelmed by what was in the album. These appear to be fairly local with a few outliers. A couple clippings accompany the photos. And, to my delight, several women are wearing hair net.

The month has been fairly light on sewing for me. I have been working here and there on my rug project. I had been keeping it a secret, intending it for last  year’s Agricultural Fair. But, it has now leaked over into year three. I have the very top and very bottom done, with a band across the center to do. I know, I am sure that is quite the reverse of most rug makers out there. It will all work out though.

A need for organization prompted this month’s blog sewing project. This will _20180114_122654hopefully keep the sewing box a little more manageable. I do love these rolled cases for keeping various things. I can’t tell you how often the one in my desk draw at work has been brought out as the keeper of needful things. I should do a write up on that version, for just that use.

IMG_20180121_120805I’ve made a few bandeau headdresses. I enjoy this light sewing. Light in that it is easy on the hands and easy on the mess. Velvet ribbon takes up far less space and ‘stuff’ than straw plait.
Speaking of straw plait, I do keep saying to myself that I need to get started on sewing straw for the season. I know I should. Financially, I really should. But, I am just not there yet. I made one small doll hat from a short bit of rosy plait that came my way. It did not please me the way it usually does in the midst of winter. Don’t despair. Eventually, the straw will come out to play. Eventually.

I almost forgot one thing. When it really, really cold earlier this month, I finally did something I’ve been joking about for a while. I made up one of my hood patterns with fleece. Yup. Let me tell you how soft and warm this thing is.

I know some of you want a GB update. I met with my GI doctor, well one of them. She’s rather awesome: patient, calm, and explains things well. I am getting there. I know I’ve been pretty open about just about everything with this, but now I’m going to be a bit more reserved on a couple things. I need to wrap my head around them. I will share one fun bit. She said I have nerve damage that is likely permanent around the incision just below my breast bone. This is the one I opened inside trying to pack up after the CW event in July. I’ve decided since these weird electrical spasms are likely permanent, it needs a name. Norbert. After all, it is like a tiny dragon inside.

One last thing to share. This morning a blog post came up on my feed that is obscure and delightful at the same time. I must say, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined cat bustles were a thing, actually a thing. Okay, maybe in my dreams.

Published in: on January 30, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  

Going to need More Velvet

I made a few bandeau headdresses this weekend. I am going to need some more quality velvet ribbon if I am going to make many more. I do have a coral color and a pumpkin color. I don’t know how desired those colors would be. 

I may make some of the kind that have the fluffy loops on the divided this week. I need to find the right name. 

Published in: on January 21, 2018 at 2:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Another Hexagon

I just love it when I stumble across additional examples of pieces. This purple and  yellow hexagon pin cushion is constructed just like the velvet on from my “Hexagons” post.

I like how coarse the stitches are. The beads are much larger.

Published in: on January 19, 2018 at 4:30 pm  Comments (1)  


It has been a long time since I’ve done a sale this big. 
Through this Sunday only, receive 20% off everything in my shop including e-books and e-patterns! 

This special sale will help me purchase additional images for my upcoming book, To Net, or Not to Net: Revisited. Please keep in mind purchasing with PayPal is instant, while Etsy Payments takes up to a week.

Published in: on January 18, 2018 at 8:38 pm  Leave a Comment