New Winter Hood Pattern???

I am thinking about drafting another winter hood pattern from my collection of original hoods.

What would you like to see?

My collection currently ranges from the 1830s through the 1890s.

Here is a sample to get you going….

Current patterns:

Published in: on August 14, 2019 at 11:03 pm  Comments (2)  

Pretty Pretty Pink Bonnet

This pink straw is such a pretty shade. I love the way the shiny outside of the straw is just a tad different than the matte inside of the straw as it makes up the plait.

Published in: on August 1, 2019 at 2:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

July Reflections

I think to wrap my head around this month, I need to do lists.


  • Independence Day
  • Inventions Week
  • GCVM Civil War
  • West Sparta


If I finish the piece on my lap right now*, I will have made 15 millinery pieces in July. That does not include the woven/lacey white bonnet, 2 doll bonnets, and a doll hat.

I didn’t take photos of everything though. I need to do better about that.


  • Bonnie the Bon Bon Doll
  • Ribbon shelf quest
  • Millinery sign
  • Parasol obsession

Rolling Around in My Head, aka What is Coming Up….

  • 15 millinery pieces in August
  • Extra fun secret to-do
  • Need a summery get together in August
  • Eliza Leslie book club
  • Domestic Skill Symposium workshop
  • FanU project – “FanU for Sustainable Holidays”

Personal Projects

  • Holiday season pin cushion and/or ornament tbd
  • Recover a parasol
  • Still want to make the pink silk dress
  • Doll penwipe
  • New sheer dress
  • Still need a 1820s or 30s dress
  • Chair kit – A bird cage Windsor
  • 2 dolls still need bodies and 2 need clothes

*While this bonnet was mostly made during July, it will be wired and bound in August after drying on the block overnight.

Published in: on July 31, 2019 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Decorated Hat in Shop

I was delighted to discover how pretty the white straw paired with these lovely purple velvet pansies. Setting off the pansies is a lush double faced satin ribbon in beautiful lilac purple. Find this hat in my Etsy shop.

Published in: on July 26, 2019 at 6:55 pm  Comments (1)  

Decorated Hats in My Shop!

People have been asking me for more decorated hats. My big event of the year has left me in a decorating mood.

I now have 2 decorated pieces in the Etsy shop!

This tapered crown hat has both a fancy edge and feathers. The brim is edged with a fancy spiral of fine straw. I find it really sets off the edge. The plumes flow along one side while black vintage ribbon is arranged at the front.

This adorable straw porkpie has its upturned brim edged with dark shot blue silk while a ruche of pinked silk fills it. The crrown has an umber-brown velvet ribbon crossing it. These velvet chevrons come directly from an original.

Published in: on July 25, 2019 at 12:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Things That Worked

I am pleased with how the new ribbon shelf worked out. Once on the table and full it looked smaller than it is. I did ened up with more ribbon than I had space. I could easily use a matching one in the display, though I have no idea where I would put it at home.

Btw – When a guest came in with a Doctor Who lanyard, it popped out that the decorative marking on the back of the shelves is in fact Timelord writing.

I liked how the brown storage boxes fit on the shelves this year. It occured to me to turn them sideways in front of the books when I saw they were pushed back last week. I could use one more nesting set or a trio of the smaller ones to fully fill the space.

I made a point to have a new set of hands-on items this year. I kept it simple with a couple small hats and some ribbons. I instantly regretted not bringing a length of straw Saturday morning as I usually do. As the weekend progressed, it turned out not to be a big deal because few people picked them up. That was until nearly the last hour. A family came in with a visually impaired child. I was so happy I brought pieces thaf could be held and explored.

Sigh Room placement. I decided to move the table over in front of the back door that attracts too much attention. I thought this would encourage people to come in because it made the space in the door and to the left bigger. I was wrong. While we felt the breeze from the doors better, people needed to be verbally encouraged to come in. This is a puzzle I need to work on. It may be a color issue or a light issue or something??? else.

I really liked how my last minute sign came out. The cut out letters arrived just barely in time Friday morning. I quickly painted two layers of blue paint that is close but not quite the color of some of my stands. I glued them on and stuck on a weighted board with a fan. Fingers crossed

Ribbon Hanger

I was quite pleased with how the ribbon hanger came out. This was a last minute idea of Lily’s for the blank spot on the empty wall. I put it by the door instead to get a better proportion, with the visually larger fashion plates hanging on the larger wall space. While working on it, I had ideas on how to make it better for next year: ball or finial ends, more ribbons, bows at the joins, a bow arrangement where it hangs.

Then I noticed how many people want to lean on that wall. They would come in the door and lean against the wall. This meant they were leaning sweaty bodies against white walls and silk ribbon.

What ever goes there needs to either be so substantial people don’t feel they can lean there or high enough they don’t lean on the item or simply inexpensive and replaceable. In the past, I have picture a mirror hanging there if I could get the okay.


A few things concerned me during the event. I will skip over those not drinking or not watering their children. There were two comments that worried me in general.

“There must have been a lot of war.” and “Oh, that’s a sad song.”

Both comments threw me. The first may have caused a physical double take. This prompted a back to basics explaination of who was who, how long the war was, where battles took place. These are not the things I normally cover. I dawned on me this person had been walking around the event for four or five hours, but just now “asked” for basics.

This makes me think we should consider if events need an introduction tent to prepare people new to this type of event. Think along the lines of the welcome video that was popular at museums in the 90s, only live. The tent could have a few rows of benches or bales and rotating pairs of guides to introduce people to what they are about to see. This would be a space to share basic historical background and a general outline of who is where on the site. I could be wrong. This could be an utter flop. But, if there are people who don’t know there must have been a lot of war, we have to try something.

The second comment surprised me a lot. Taps is usually a moment of stillness and silence for me. This is true whether I am near the battle, at a ceremony, or hear it through a window at home. No talking. No moving. No sewing. Quiet reflection. So, when someone started speaking to me I was surprised. When she commented “oh, that’s a sad song” I realized she hadn’t ever heard it before, let alone understood. I felt a mix of happy for her that she never stood graveside, hearing it played for a family member or friend; sad that she hadn’t attended a community memorial ceremony where it was played. I whispered what it was and how it was used. I think, I hope, she understood from my whisper there was notable significance to it. It may be time to include a short note regarding the significance of Taps on event information sheets.

For Next Year…

I want to tweek the ribbon hanger if I use it again.

While chatting, it came to mind that I need a clock. This is of course a lofty goal.

Published in: on July 22, 2019 at 5:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Millinery Available in Shop!

This weekend’s display pieces are now available in my Etsy shop. Pieces include:

  • Black and natural straw bonnet
  • Black straw bonnet (slightly smaller in the brim)
  • Natural straw bonnet with a fancy brim
  • Natural straw bonnet with a flared brim (smaller)
  • Porkpie hat I decorated at the event (I called it a toque in the video. I was tired.) (Coming as soon as I finish it.)

Here is the video from ths event.

11:15…. Finished the hat!

Published in: on July 22, 2019 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Antique Straw Designs

Some of you may recall me working on a display box this spring for the demonstration I was doing in the gallery. I wanted to include the various beautiful straw elements found on original straw bonnets and hats. The problem was I haven’t yet learned to make these many motifs.

A couple weeks ago, I was talking with an Etsy merchant in Italy about her straw millinery products. She told me about these antique straw art pieces. I agreed to purchase them for her very reasonable price.

They are from around 1900, but these same elements can be found on hats and bonnets from the mid nineteenth century.

I will be arranging them into my display box. I would like to do a reference sheet for each, noting where millinery with each design can be found. If you would like to see some now, check out the The American Straw Art Museum.

Published in: on July 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm  Comments (4)  

Event Reflections: GCVM Civil War 2019

I want to start with the infamous question: “Are you hot?”

This event, every last one of us, visitor, reenactor, and staff were Hot. As the days progressed closer to the event, weather alerts increased, warning people of the heat and heat index reaching 110 degrees. This is quite hot for for the Finger Lakes region. The museum took great care to make sure visitors and reenactors were as comfortable and healthy as possible. They set up cooling stations, emphasized which buildings have air conditioning, and had active emts on hand. This is one of the cooling stations behind the millinery.

Leading up to the event, I did start getting worried about the heat and how my body would respond. I’ve had a couple heat issues in the past and my body has been unpredictable the last few years. I am very relieved to report that other than a little sun headache on the way home Saturday, I feel good. I am the normal level of “day at the museum tired.” This is such a nice feeling for me. I credit this to drinking, drinking, and staying out of the sun.

Elyse joined me this year to be my assistant. I like to have an assistant because in previous years the building will fill with guests and it is nice to be able to run out to the outhouse or such.

Because it was so hot on Saturday, visitors were lighter than usual. This also meant more time to actually see friends. (normally I can not see past the front door.)

I may have shifted into camp director mode a few times in Saturday. I saw many people who worried me because of the heat. I may have reminded a few to drink water, asked a couple to sit down, and escorted one to the emts. I may have also gone out into the sun and watered soldiers.

Setting up the Millinery

Here are the before and after shot of the Insurance Office becomes Millinery Shop as it looked Friday before some Saturday morning changes:

Here are some arrangement photos.

I have a few millinery pieces that will be available as soon I get them unpacked and listed on Etsy:

Published in: on July 21, 2019 at 7:31 pm  Comments (1)  

GCVM Civil War Event Videos

I am too tired and hungry at the moment to do the post I want to. But, I also want to share the video from Thursday and this morning. All in all, yes it was hot but I had a nice time. Other than a sun headache, I feel pretty good.

Published in: on July 20, 2019 at 6:10 pm  Comments (2)