Reflecting on 2021

It goes without say, yet I am saying it, 2021 was difficult for many people, as was 2020. This year was hard; it tore some people apart in many ways. My heart goes out to those who lost their own this year, who were hit hard, and who tried their alk to keep their head and families above water.

I struggled on my own ways, both financially and in trying to find myself after a stretch of difficult. At times, I was all over the place.

Somehow, I managed to pull off some pretty nifty things. Honestly, goign back through the year, I’ve had several moments of “I did that this year?” This is a photo review of the year.

A Few Finallies

I finally made an 1830s dress suitable for sewing straw in. This dress is fery comfortable to work in.
To go along with my 30s dress, I also finally made myself a cap.

Small Projects


This year, I was able to shift my millinery interpretation from pretty fashion to women’s employment. The straw millinery industry provided many employment end income opportunities for women, from plaiting, to sewing, to finishing in a factory, to assisting at a millinery, to making flowers or bandboxes. Some of these positions had life long physical consequences due to the excessively long seasonal hours. Understanding the aspects of income earning is essential in understanding women’s history.

I put a lot of time into videos for YouTube this year. I started the year with the vision of weekly videos discussing a balance of millinery, Interpretation, and period craft work topics. Well, the year has been a challenge.


A new antique millinery block (right) joined the collection. Bonnet blocks are very difficult to come by. It is very nice when I can add one to the collection.
Published in: on December 27, 2021 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Lappet Style Winter Hoods

She is wearing plaid lappet style winter hood. The plaid is cut on the bias for the brim. It may be silk or wool. There are extant lappet hoods of both wool and silk.

A lappet style winter hood is distinguished by its elongated cheektabs reflecting the look of a lace lappet. These extended cheektabs align with a deep brim that comes forward of the face. Lappet style hoods are batted thinner than many other hoods. This makes it easy to fold back the brim. Laid flat, this deep brim and long lappets can protect the face. Folded back it allows for ease of vision.

This style hood is distinct among its quilted and wadded counterparts, yet lacked a name. The distinct long, wide cheektabs so similarly reflect a lappet’s shape and position of wear, the name lappet became obviously appropriate.

Lappet style hoods are found with three piece construction and two piece construction.

This lappet style hood is a three piece construction. The exterior uses two different brown stripe silks: one for the brim and bavolet, one for the crown. The lining is a bright blue solid silk taffeta. The ties and back bow are made from the brown stripe silk and the blue lining. For more details.
This hood is a three piece construction: crown, brim, and bavolet. This example has a green wool exterior and pink silk interior for the brim while the crown and bavolet are lined in green polished cotton. The pink silk interior would be visible if the brim was turned back. In most of this style, the neck edge of the crown, where the bavolet is attached, a channel is created so it can be drawn up for fit.

This next hood is a two piece construction: a combined brim/crown piece and a bavolet. Notice the bavolet length is on the longer side compared with other styles of winter hoods. This hood had the same green with pink color combination as the one above, but the exterior and interior are both silk.

This all black example is a three piece construction with an silk exterior and interior. You can see a line where this brim was turned back.

Lappet style hoods in other collections:

This pink lappet style hood is currently on display at the Genesee Country Village and Museum. It is shown with the brim turned back. You can see how the neck edge of the crown can be drawn up inside for comfort and fit.

18th century example at the Boston Museum of Fine Art

1850 example at the MET


To make your own lappet style winter hood

Published in: on December 26, 2021 at 8:26 am  Leave a Comment  

A Christmas Morning Unboxing

I am very excited about this one.

Published in: on December 25, 2021 at 10:35 am  Comments (4)  


Due to a multi-day migraine, I didn’t make it to the last day of Holiday Open House. This means I didn’t record a video for this week/weekend and I didn’t get to work on the bonbon doll. My apologies.

I will pick up the bonbon dolls, both of which are at the museum, as soon as schedules match up. Once they are home, I can make Bennie his mittens and boots. Then, I can finish the making of video.

Published in: on December 20, 2021 at 5:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Do I Have a Pocket Problem?

You decide…

I might be trying to distract myself today.

Published in: on December 17, 2021 at 11:24 am  Comments (2)  

Ornaments for the 19th Century Inspired Tree

Are you looking for ornaments to make this weekend?

My blog stats suggest several people are looking for 19th century ornament ideas.

Over the last couple weekends, many guests commented on how several of 19th century gifts I had displayed
would make nice ornaments. How right they are!

Check out this short video for a look at some of the items:

Several of these projects are available in my Etsy Shop or on my Blogs for Free:

The Pillow Pin Ball can be made up in pretty silks and velvets or holiday cottons for a tree ornament. Put bows, bells, beads, or tassels on the corners. In my Etsy Shop

The Paper Pieced Pin Ball looks great in silk or cotton. Bead the edges or corners instead of using pins. The directions in my Etsy Shop include other combinations for ornaments.

The Slipper Pin Cushion (not in video) in my Etsy shop can make a very pretty ornament. If hung from the heel,
the toe can hold a small gift.

The Parasol Pen Wiper makes a particularly pretty ornament when beaded with clear glass beads that
catch the lights. – Directions are available in this blog post and video:

The Balloon Bag can be made with pretty silks or holiday cottons. As an ornament, the Balloon Bag can hold gifts as well. Directions are available in this post and a two part video:

The large stocking needle-book has a great shape that can work as a large stocking ornament. It can be made as a single layer, or made to open like a book with photos or a special message inside. The template is available in this project post:

I happen to be a big fan of putting hearts on a tree. So, of course I think the heart pin cushions from An American Girls Book make great ornaments. I included directions in this hearts post:

Published in: on December 17, 2021 at 8:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Last Minute Gift Idea: A Hair Kit

Did December get away from you? Do you need to get a last minute, 19th century appropriate gift before next weekend?

I recommend:

A Hair Kit!

Check out this quick video that looks at what can go into a basic hair kit:

You can pick up the items for a nice hair kit in two stops: Your local craft store like Joann’s or Micheals and your local pharmacy or Sally’s beauty supply.

From you craft store, pick up a paper mache box, small wood box, or period appropriate paper covered box.

From you local pharmacy, pick up the following:

  • A packet of plain hair nets
  • A couple packs of faux tortoise hair pins
  • A pack of hair elastics in black
  • A pack of faux tortoise hair combs
  • A gift bag and tissue paper to wrap everything in.

Open the packages (except the hair elastics) and put them in the box. You can wrap each item in tissue paper to make unwrapping even more special. Wrap the box in tissue paper, or reproduction fabroc, and place in the gift bag. You can also add a gift certificate for a pomade or a reproduction hair comb to the kits.

Published in: on December 17, 2021 at 7:20 am  Comments (1)  

Holiday Open House, second weekend

Tired just hit me and hit hard…..

Bonbon Boy Progress
Today, I sat in a stream of sunshine as I worked on a hat for the Bonbon Boy and a garland of candies for him to hold.
Peppermint candies circle his silk conical hat as a series of wrapped bonbons radiate upwards. I was quite pleased with the fit of the hat that slides onto his head without the need for ties.
His garland is a simple string of gold, silver, and copper wrapped bonbons. I had pictured a second garland of peppermints, but found such a garland needed a silver bead to seperate the candies. This may happen next week.
His lack of hands and feet was a concern to several young visitors this week. I am picturing a pair of mittens to solve part of this worry. His feet may need a pair of boots, which are a bigger challenge.
Other than his second garland plus hands and feet, which may need to wait until the right mittens and boots are found, Bennie the Bonbon Boy is nearly finished. I will finish up the last current detail next Sunday.

Published in: on December 12, 2021 at 5:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Quick Little Booklet

I wanted to have one more little book of handmade gift ideas for the holiday open house program, where I am talking about holiday gifts. I already have reprints of a few other books to display. I just love these two articles from St. Nicholas Magazine: “100 Christmas Presents, and How to Make Them” from December,  1875, and “A Budget of Home-Made Christmas Gifts” from November,  1877.

There were a couple, um speed bumps, in making this little book. I had transcribed the 1875 article and began laying it out. I had pictured it with a nice cover, printed on cover stock. The cover stock I thought I had. When I discovered I did not have the coverstock, the idea deflated for me. I printed the 1875 and 1877 as they were in the original publications;  shorter, easier. Then went about figuring out what might make an okay cover. Turns out the taller paper grocery bags only have printing on one side, leaving enough paper for a cover. I sewed each section together, then the sections together and the cover on. Since my original editions do not have the covers and the covers for each magazine is lost when bound, I created covers which were glued onto the brown cover. (I anticipate finishing the transcribed booklet when I have a coverstock or nice marbled paper for a cover.)

Both articles give insight into child crafts and gift giving, but also into a few other life details such as wall shields and toiletry habits.

Published in: on December 11, 2021 at 1:00 pm  Comments (2)  

Handmade Gifts for the Holidays

This is a quick video of the samples for this month’s Holiday Open House.

  • Pin pockets
  • Workpocket aka pocket of pockets
  • Parasol Needle-book
  • Pen-wipers: parasol, doll head, cat, elephant, frozen charlotte
  • Doll pin cushion
  • Woven ribbon pin cushion
  • Strawberry bookmark
  • Heart pin cushions
  • Oval pinkeep
  • Corded pin balls
  • Pillow pin ball
  • Paper pieced pin balls
  • Pool holder
  • Stocking needle-book
  • Velvet embroidered needle-book
  • Segemented pin cushion
  • Tiolet pin cushions

Published in: on December 5, 2021 at 6:09 pm  Leave a Comment