Fashion Plate Pretties

While looking for a couple pieces of furniture we need, I saw a few fashion plates.

This one caught my eye first because of the red cloak. I love red.


Then I saw the fichu.


This plate was next. Actually, I almost missed it because I was looking at a cat painting.


I am glad Dan pointed it out. Do you see that morning wrap/robe?! Wow. I would love to make this. I doubt I have enough of the brown silk velvet. So, I’ll be keeping my eye out for black silk velvet for this dream garment.


This is the third print. Nothing screams at me right now. A new green coat is on the list, but it will be longer. I would do this coat if I had just the right fabric, because I enjoy this cut.


Published in: on January 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy 2013!!!

I hope everyone enjoyed the past couple weeks. I know I enjoyed my week and a half off from work during which I managed not to turn on my laptop, spent some well needed time with family, relaxed with my husband in our new home, hand-sewed some curtains, and just dwelled. It was lovely.

I am rather excited for the new year. Dan and I are in our own place. We have space to organize (which I find to be a fun challenge.) I will have a new sewing room to play in. All around goodness.

This year’s looking forward list is a hodge-podge of activity rather than the traditional beginning of the year to-do list. Let me see if I can group this nicely….

For Fanciful Utility fans:

  • In February, I have an upcoming FanU workshop at the Genesee Country Village & Museum. We will spend a Saturday afternoon learning techniques from the book as we make one of my favorite needle-books.
  • In March, the Mumford library will be hosting a book signing tea. Stop in to my favorite small town library to get your book signed or pick up a copy to have signed. The exact date is to be determined based on the library’s renovation schedule. (This great library is getting a long needed renovation that will give the library more space while preserving the historic building.)
  • Throughout the year, look forward to new templates to accompany Fanciful Utility as well as creative ways to use the techniques from the book.

For Shawl fans:

  • I’m hoping to move forward on the new shawl book……

My general looking forward list:

  • Compile an annotated photo index of my fabric stash as it is organized into the cabinet. Among this stash will be found future sewing projects to include…. a V neck, gathered bodice, flounce skirt sheer 1850s dress… new sleeves for my 1840s dress…. potentially another 1840s dress…. a traveling wardrobe…. a new cotton wrapper…. a long waiting green tropical wool early 1860s dress…. a Regency blue sari dress…. a sheer early 1860s dress …. a new dress or two for Lily as the season needs…. oh, and the court dress.
  • I want to get together a full civilian outfit for my husband. The decade is still to be determined as I think it might be easier to convince him to wear it if it is from the 1840s or 50s.
  • For my relaxation and pure fun of it, I want to do several dresses and accessories for Mae.
  • Finish my red embroidered shawl as well as the ribbon/shawl idea.
  • Pull off a certain secret project by October. shhhhhhh!
  • Keep a regular schedule on both of my blogs. On my personal blog, look forward to stories of getting the apartment organized which will likely reveal some of my obsessions. On the living history blog, my main goal is to finish any series I start. I apologize for the various series I started over the past year and a half but haven’t had the focus to finish.
  • In terms of event to-do, I would like a nice living history event with my husband, a nice civilian event alone,  a social event with my husband (after all he still owes me a dance), some time in the village, a nice event to take my sister to and something educational some place small. (vague, I know)

This 2013 list is far less lofty than previous years’ lists. It is also less specific. My main goals for 2013 is to be happy, healthy and patient.

I hope everyone has a beautiful year.

Published in: on January 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lighting a Christmas Tree

I found this little snip-it rather intriguing and a bit horrifying. I just had to share. It comes from the December 1867 edition of the American Agriculturalist. We housekeepers know that this is really the busiest season of the year, but the work is so agreeable and is interspersed with so much that is delightfully mysterious, we never think of it being work at all, and only regret we have not each two pairs of  hands, that we might accomplish more. Christmas is so near, and then – well – Charlie is coming home from Chicago, and Willie from New York. They will come so late, we must have a tree all trimmed, the presents hung, and the candles ready to be lighted before they arrive. What a pity we cannot have gas out here in the country, and so have a Christmas tree drop-light, like the one cousin Tom has in Liverpool! The most vivid imagination could scarcely convert our little candles and lamps (I beg their pardon for mentioning it. May their shadows never be less, ) into the fifty bright jets which illuminated their tree; or transform Jennie’s doll, which will hover with out-stretched arms over our tree, suspended from the ceiling by a string around her waist – a contrivance of Ralph’s – into the silver Christ-child nestling in the upper branches, “all radiant with light as with a flood of glory,” as Tom described it in his letter to Ralph. Father says if the Petroleum Oil Gas Co. gets to work, and does as well as he thinks it will, we shall have our house lighted with gas before another Christmas. I don’t suppose father would get us a drop with fifty lights, but one with six or eight, as in figures 1 and 2, would be very nice among our candles and lamps. Yes, eight, opened to the best advantage, as shown in figure 1, would quite set off a tree.”

Published in: on December 1, 2012 at 9:08 am  Leave a Comment  


I just had to share this one from Vicki Betts’ nwspaper research…

Lost Cat.
            The valuable cat which we noticed a short time since as having taken up quarters at the Georgia Engine House, has been lost, strayed, or stolen.  She had on, when missed, a red leather collar, with a silver plate, on which is engraved the name of the cat, “Georgiana.”  Any person finding the animal, and leaving it with Captain T. A. Bones, at his hardware store, will be suitable rewarded.  

Published in: on August 30, 2012 at 5:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

A page that made me squeak

I can not say just how excited I was when I flipped to this page the other day. I’ve been fond of this type of purse/bag for some time now. I think what interests me is the tight gauging needed to attach the outer silk to the inner shape. This has such a beautiful look and is very fun to do.

Published in: on July 18, 2012 at 6:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

CDV Stories

I still can not decide whether to share the trio of CDVs I found of sisters or to save them for those who pick up my shawl book. I bought them specifically for the book. But, they are justso cool.

Instead, I’ll share the story of the CDVs that are now in the freezer.

Yes, you read that right.

While Dan and I were driving through the Adirondacks, we saw several antique shops and yard sale signs. But, since we were zipping along and very, very eager to get to the relaxation of Plattsburgh, we didn’t actually stop. Until we knew we were much closer and slowing down as we came into a little town that is. It also helped that it was definitely time to walk around a bit. We found quite the little shop. (though not as “wow, awesome” as the small shop tucked into a barn on the way back that had the most amazing dark wood bed for a fraction of what I would have guessed.) Inside there was a nice variety of antiques, well-organized. There was a beaver top hat in its leather case, both in incredible condition, a nice lap desk lacking a price tag, a hand-carved sewing bird, a whole room of well cared for vintage textiles and much more. Now when comparing the state of the linens to the state of the ephemera….. well….

When I saw the stack of CDVs I was excited of course. I’m on a continuous quest to find good images with shawls to add to the shawl book. (I’m likely to keep adding until just before it goes to press.) I picked up the stack. It felt cool. Hmm. As I flipped through, they felt damp. ooooo. not good. As I kept flipping, mostly seeing children and later adults, I started sneezing and sneezing….. and sneezing. Ugh. Very much not good. Since they were all 50 cent, I picked  out the three early 60s images including one that may or may not get used thinking maybe just maybe I could rescue them.

They went right into a plastic baggy in the truck to keep them from spreading their ick. Not the best container…. but their ick…. As soon as we got back, they went right into the freezer, receipt and all.

Honestly, I don’ t know if I’m going to be able to kill everything and get the moisture out enough for me to ever feel safe enough to put them with the rest of the images. These may need to be scanned really well and kept only as electric files. Sad that they got this bad.

Once they are out of the freezer, I’ll add images of them.

Published in: on July 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm  Comments (4)  

Printing Block


Of course this had no tag as do many to most things that catch my attention. I inherited that from Dad.

Published in: on May 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm  Comments (2)  

A Little Camera Shopping

In recent strolls through antique shops I’ve seen a variety of items I would like to own. As both money and space are basically non-existant, I’ve been “shopping” with my camera phone. (I have Lots of photos)
Dan has mentioned he would like a desk. While there have been several that were nice, there was just something about this one I liked. I don’t know if it is the wood or what that appealsto me.


Oddly, with aisles and aisles of cases many packed with jewelry, this is the only gutta percha broach I saw. This one is small, less than an inch across the shorter way. The simplicity appeals to me.


Interestingly, both of these items were priced the same.

Published in: on May 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Antiques on Campus”

In light of this being the anniversary of Dad’s death, it just felt right to go to an antique show. It was comforting to walk among the many things he would have appreciated. There were several items I’m sure would have caught his eye. There were also many things that reminded me of Grandpa and Grandma.

I was able to get a few photos of items as I purused. Since I was just writing about miniature portraits in jewelry, here are theonlytwo I saw at the show.

Of course there were a few shawls. The paisleys were fairly ordinary, none having enough uniqueness to make them worth considering. There was an incredibly well-preserved black silk shawl that I would love to have in my collection. After chatting with the couple displaying it, I found they have a few more shawls including some family shawls they are whiling to show me as they would love to learn more about them. I have their card and look forward to talking with them again. There was one other shawl that I considered until I saw the extensive, unstable damage in the center. The fracturing along the center folds was significant and supplemented with either moth or rubbing damage. I did take these photos because the color was so nice. It is a fairly standard sized double square shawl with a border plaid. The weave is very fine. It would be nice to look at the threads under magnification since there appeared very long fibers used.

Here is the item I would have just loved to bring home with me. This is the smallest needlebook I have yet seen. It is just about an inch by just under two inches in size. The cover is silk. I couldn’t tell if it was ribbon or a yardage scrap. The pages inside are just so cute and tiny. The pocket is incredible. Then, there is the two color bow on the outside. LOVE IT!!! It is taking a good deal of self-control not to go back to pick this little guy up.

There were other needlebooks including a felt hat and a braided grass fiber. This one was different in color and embroidery technique.

For all my doll loving friends, you would have loved this show. There was an abundance of doll items available. Here is just one of the displays.

At the beginning of the show I leafed through the piles of cdvs one gentleman had looking for some with shawls. No luck. Since it was just the beginning, I allowed myself one cdv thinking I would see something else I had to have (like that needlebook.)  I’ll likely do a separate post about her attire and that trim.

Published in: on March 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm  Comments (2)  

Meandering Thoughts on a Tiny Subject

Brooches have been popping up in conversation and other places lately, particularly those with portrait or scenic images in them. With this reoccuring surfacing, my thoughts have been meandering around these curious miniature bits of art.

Now, if I was to actually consider these for a research topic I would want to look at….

– The types of images – painted, etched, photographic…. Would micro-mosaic or carved count as well?  

– The types of settings including materials, style, shapelockets, pin placement, convertablity…. ceramic, enamel, stone, shell…

– The durability of the images – curious about this….

– Who are the subjects?

– Who are the artists?

– Why? … including memorial pieces. The hair pieces on the reverse side?

– Typical verse unusual? Shape, materials, subjects?

Later verses earlier

– I’m going to have look at lots of these, lots and lots of these…. (two on the way home)

Published in: on March 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm  Leave a Comment