September Update

I have been struggling with what to write and when to write ever since my “New Plan” post at the beginning of August. Let’s be real, that post wasn’t so much about “new plans” as it was about the decimation of plans. I decided to put the information on moving into the September Updates post so there would be some resemblance of normalcy, even if it is just for me.

Our new place is just 8 or so miles from our previous, in the town I went to school in. The place is the antithesis of what the old place originally was: modern, complex, neighbors, blacktop verses hardwood, private, treed, animals, shade, quiet. There are several advantages to the new place:

  • There are closets and storage. A pantry, a linen closet, bedroom closets, coat closet, utility closet….
  • There are electric outlets, more than just 2 per room.
  • There are screens on the windows.
  • Best we can tell, the lights should not flicker and the circuit breaker won’t blow when we run the microwave.
  • I am hoping I will no longer burn my hands when I wash dishes. (Hot hot and cold being the only options)
  • The tub and shower, yup we have both, ought to be constructed right and actually drain.
  • Oh, and we have a new fangled thing called a dishwasher.

There are many things I will miss abput the old place. But, the reality is most of these things have been wittled away already.

  • Quiet privacy
  • Shade from beautiful old trees
  • Cats to say hello each day
  • Ghosts, both human and feline
  • Squirrels all named George, deer herd and fawn twins, groundhog family
  • Being able to walk to the fabric shop

Moving forward….

I am still trying to sort things out both physically and mentally. I would really like to dive back into all the projects. But, I think I need to focus on what is coming up and choose a mental health project of some sort.

The Agricultural Society Fair is coming up October 6th and 7th. I have two lonely pieces to enter this year. I am hoping to still do a demonstration of new domestic inventions/tools, including the punking machines.

Following, the weekend of November 3rd, is the Domestic Skills Symposium when I will be doing my Band of Millinette workshop that I am excited about. This program needs a lovely PowerPoint and some handouts to go with their supply kits.

What the mental health project will be, I am not sure. I need something that will slow me down and help me center while bringing back some joy. I want to feel how I did in July.


Eventually, I will get back to the projects the got dropped two months ago. There will be a winter hood book. There will be a Godey’s Dolls book. There will be straw millinery. There may be winter millinery. There will be more videos. There will be new FanU projects.

Thank you all for your patience, both in waiting for items and for listening to me whine and vent.

Published in: on September 19, 2018 at 11:01 am  Comments (3)  


I just stumbled across a Facebook post with images that looked coincidentally familiar. Upon reading the comments from two respected friends, I discovered I attached the wrong date to a publication I transcribed from in 2012.

Those already looking ahead to making Christmas ornaments, please note I incorrectly dated Cassell’s Household Guide, Volume 3 as 1869, when it was in fact 1881.

I want to be certain that the correct date is known, not only for my blog followers, but also because the same transcribed passage appeared in the November, 2017 edition of a certain magazine with the same title and incorrect date.

I have corrected the date and updated the link in the original post.

Published in: on September 8, 2018 at 4:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Plans

I am not sure how to write this post. I am calling it new plans in an attempt to be hopeful, when in fact at the moment there are no new plans, just a dark cave for my old ones. By old ones, I mean those I was excitedly working towards a week ago. Well, a difference a week day hour can make. One moment I am happily sewing along. The next I am reading a letter saying our lease will not be renewed and we have 7 (now 6) weeks to find a new place to live.

“you must now put your life, plans, and art on hold”

This impromptu packing, which has begun, and obsessive hunt for a good place to live, which is in full force, means the vast majority of my millinery supplies are being packed into boxes and sent to the depths of a storage unit.

What does this mean for the availability of straw millinery? I expect with packing, moving, unpacking, and getting a grip on my sanity, I will be another 6 months behind on pieces. I simply won’t be able to do 10, 12, or 14 hour sewing days. I still have pieces from last year to make and pieces from this year’s Mumford. These will get my first attention when I am settled. I may be able to do a sanity piece here and there. Sewing straw calms me after all.

What about my hood book and doll book? I don’t anticipate putting enough thoughts together to get any good writing done for a while. I also already sent these research materials away for safe keeping. For the few of you who really understands what that means: yes, that was incredibly hard to do and scares me.

What about my Holiday FanU projects? I am not entirely sure. My current plan is to have them set aside so I can do the drafting and directions if by chance I can possibly do so. I really don’t know.

What about my Symposium workshop? No change there. I already have a special tote set aside for those materials.

I hope everyone understands about about how this will effect hat and bonnet availability.

Published in: on August 8, 2018 at 8:37 pm  Comments (5)  

August Forecast

August is the month that gets cheated. It gets advertises as a bright, sunny, 31 day month of summer. The reality is it gets cut short. Its last week belongs to September’s back to school. Days here and there mid-month are stolen by school work needs. Though we have summery places we want to go and sun time desires, fall demands attention, louder and louder, while we cry “where did July go?”. We long for a longer July, the month of peace and relaxation.

I don’t have any big events in August’s schedule. I will be popping over to a small, local, parkep event this weekend to do a sit ‘n sew with a friend. I would like to visit at least one more historic or cultural site this month. Or, maybe a spur of the moment event visit. Recommendations?

I have a big projects list:

  • I’d like to do a dozen millinery pieces this month, or 8 with some decorated.
  • DomSkills work shop design
  • Dolls of Godeys book

I also have random projects list:

  • Finish red stripe dress (there is actual progress, see below)
  • Make a jewelry box
  • Make a samples box
  • New FanU holiday project

Events ahead:

  • The Agricultural Society Fair (October)
  • Preparing for the Holidays (November)
  • The Domestic Skills Symposium (November)

Published in: on July 31, 2018 at 12:57 pm  Comments (2)  

Tonight’s Millinery: Walnut Brown Softcrown Bonnet

Tonight’s second piece of millinery was also a display piece in the millinery at GCVM a couple weekends ago.

This softcrown bonnet has a walnut brown straw crown edged in black with a decorative black plait meandering over the brim. The crown and bavolet are black 100% silk organza trimmed in vintage brown moire ribbon and lined in black cotton net. The bonnet ties with black cotton sateen ties and has 4″ wide black German moire rayon ribbon. Inside is a vintage ivory cotton frill and an arrangement of purple violets, pansies, and white blossoms.

Find this bonnet in my Etsy shop.

Published in: on July 30, 2018 at 7:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tonight’s Millinery: Green Softcrown Bonnet

Here is the first of the two softcrown bonnets displayed at the Genesee Country Village and Museum. I know many people have anxiously been awaiting these.

This softcrown bonnet is handsewn with a mossy green straw plait. The crown and bavolte are a beautiful green, golden brown, and deep purple plaid silk taffeta lined with cotton net. Pulling from the purple in the silk, I chose a deep plum double faced satin ribbon. Inside is a vintage cotton net frill and vintage blooms.

Find this bonnet in my Etsy shop.

Published in: on July 30, 2018 at 6:38 pm  Comments (3)  


The event two weekends ago reminded me how much I have wanted a footstool for sewing. Many paintings show women with their feet up on a foot stool while sewing. Some are petite. Some are large. Some are plain wood. Some are painted. Some are embroidered. You get the idea…. There is a lot of variety.

Here is my developing pin board of paintings with stools.

I was indecisive on what kind of stool I wanted. Painted wood would got with my chairs. A simple woven one would be easy to make and be versitile for multiple interpretations. One with a needlework top would be so much fun to make.

Each of these involved making…. Be it painting, weaving, or embroidery and assembly.

So, when I stopped at an antique shop on the way home from Saturday’s event and saw two potential stools for less than it would cost to make either, logic said choose one. One was a simple, small woven top one much like the kind available in kits from $19.95 – $29.95. While I still think these would be a great project to do with some of the kids, I opted for the other stool.

Needlework top that lools a lot like Berlin Work to me. Familiar legs. Screws on the underside that look right. I suspect it is early 20th century. The lines are right though.

It stands 7″ on the sides. So, maybe 8″ in the center. It is pretty firm, not squishy. It may get a little pillow on top to add softness and protect the needlework. It is 14.5″ by 12.5″

By the way, this is Clara approved.

Published in: on July 30, 2018 at 1:14 pm  Comments (2)  

Is There a Perfect Day?

This afternoon, I found myself sitting in the shade of a lovely cluster of trees, enjoying a nice breeze, part of a circle of friends….. and I was utterly content. For the second Saturday in a row, I was in my happy place.

Even my eyes were greener.

Today, I joined my friends of the 140th NYVI at the West Sparta Old Fashioned Day. This is a sweet event out in the country, further down the Genesee Valley. It is the epitome of a nice, small town event with pony rides, local artists and mechants, beautiful music, and games. We even got serenaded by the Warsaw Barbershoppers.

For the past many years, the 140th has set up a demonstration area for event goers to stop and chat at. This is the tyoe of event where just about everybody that comes by truly stops and chats. Devon put on a nice interactive display of period entertainments and games. A circle of us sewed, knitted, and were ready to darn socks if the need arose. I did straw of course. The military did a camp life display and an engineers tools display.

I am not sure how to organize the photos other than to say we had a wonderful time.

Published in: on July 28, 2018 at 6:53 pm  Comments (4)  

Feedback Please

Dear Readers, I need your feedback. Do you like the videos I’ve been posting? Should I do more?

The stats are telling me people aren’t viewing them as much.

Thank you in advance.

EDIT: A few have mentioned videos being hard or not wanting to do them anymore. So you know, I don’t find them hard, especially these quick takes without editing. I spend days and day on the videos at work that are far more complex even for student work.

Published in: on July 25, 2018 at 7:48 am  Comments (10)  

Before and After…

A closer look at the Millinery Shop.

Mr. Stowe, a wise business man, was determined to move his insurance business to the rear of his building on Maple Street, and rent the front of a building to another business. When I heard of his intentions, I knew this was the perfect opportunity for my millinery business. I promptly conveyed my interest in the space and have been quite pleased with the arrangement.

I must say though, despite his plan, Mr. Stowe was quite beside himself as the the war raged closer and closer. I don’t think I have ever heafd him so quiet. He is usually such a talkative, if occasionally shy, man. He was so worried about the damages resulting of the approaching fighting.

But, I digress.

You are intersted in the shop itself. As you can see, the front of the Insurance Office is a nice, space. It is positioned on a busy street in the village. The front room has two windows that provide nice light for the whole duration of the day, az long as the sun it out. It also has trees for shade. The porch is welcoming outside, while the beautiful mantle inside is both functional and esthetic.

The space transformed quite well for my Millinery Shop.

There is just the right amount of space for organized work and consultations for customers. We have found it is quite comfortable for several women to hide upon the floor when it is not safe to go outside.


The center of the room was our work space. This is the oval table that belongs in this space. It is a good size, being not too big nor too small. We generally work from the runner back. From the runner forward is meant to be interactive pieces. I did a sample book of fashion illustrations this year. In previous years, I set out straw samples. The book did not get as much attention as I anticipated. I think cards may get more attention, paired with straw and ribbon samples. As you can see, I also put the food on the table. If it isn’t right there, I will completely forget to eat until it is too late.

A good many of the museum visitors for this event are families with children. It is important to me to have items at their level that they can touch. The layout of the room makes two good spots for this: the front of the table we are working from and the table directly in from the door. This table was arranged with small, child size straw hats and bonnets, as well as sunbonnets and a winter bonnet. The little boxes on the shelf were last minute thought. But, I want to play with tnat in the future because those boxes caught a couple kids’ attention. Next year, I want to print fashion prints of children for this area. I do want to say the kids that came on Sunday were excellent, with some very good questions.

This year, I tried something different: a mourning section. This idea was based on the number of questions on mourning in previous years. There were fewer this year. Go figure.

As far as the display goes, I am iffy about it. Part of that is because I did not get the example pieces I wanted to made. That was going to be a natural straw fully trimmed, and a black plait straw. I also had a bit of ribbon drama. Some came shinier than I thought. Some came destined for the trash due to mildew between the ribbon and paper. Another part was the space. This was a difficult one to work with, with this intention.

Okay, so, self critical honesty moment. I have mixed thoughts on the bigger display corner. This, to me, is supposed to be the “talk about examples”. Meaning when visitors come in, I want to be able to say “here is an example of such and such” or “see how this is different from this?” or “here, let’s take a closer look at this.” it didnt2 meet those neexs for me this year like it has in previous years. (recall I sold most of my demo pieces during the Clara emergency.)

I love the pink and blue stands. I want more pink. I kinda want some mint green like the outside of the building too. I also like the fashion plates hanging. I do not like the assortment of pieces I brought because they do not represent some of the things I like to talk about most. This is missing a coarse bonnet, a cottage bonnet, a wide brim hat, a bonnet with a veil, and a hat with a veil. Unfinished soft crowns confuse people. I need fo make a cap style hat to be in the perminant display because people can connect with that. I do like bringing the additional table. It does need tlc.

I am very pleased with the mantle display. It is a pretty, but also an informational pretty. I really like the labels. Vocabulary. I also like not opening all of them. They are all full. All but a couple are what they say. This means I am prepared for hair net, belt, and other emergencies, as well as closer looks. We didn’t get as many conversations that involved closer looks this year.

I hope you enjoyed my walk through my millinery and thought process. I may add a few more thoughts below. My apologies for typos. I am not used to this new tablet keyboard. My thumbs are too short.

Published in: on July 23, 2018 at 6:45 pm  Comments (2)