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)  

Adding New Millinery to My Etsy Shop

As the July hoarding of millinery has come to an end, I will be adding new millinery to my Etsy shop. This includes a Very Limited Selection of woven straw hats.

Lets start off with the hats. I decided to try my hands at woven straw. I already planned for this to be a limited selection. Well, to be perfectly honest, I do not like working with the woven straw. So, after I use the few woven straws I purchased, I will leave woven straw to the masters of woven straw, V.M. and P.R.. My very limitex selection will includ a few Civil War era hats as well as a couple Regency pieces and later Victorian pieces to come. Today, I have 4 Mousquetaire hats for you, 2 ivory, 1 white, 1 black. Each of these has a 21″ crown rising 4 1/2″, with a 2″ to 2 1/2″ wide brim. Eaxh is offered at an extra special price.

Next, I have 2 copper straw bonnets each with a different brim.

This copper straw plait bonnet was blocked on my original block, Serenity.

The sister bonnet is also copper, but with more of a flare to the brim. This bonnet was made while studying my newest bonnet block, Destiny.

I will be working on decorating the next couple few several days. I have a couple pieces to get to their owners. Then, I will be finishinf two soft crown bonnets: one in the popular green and one in a combination of walnut and black.

As I finish this post, I will be hopping over and typing in Etsy.

Published in: on July 23, 2018 at 10:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Sunday in the Millinery

Today stayed below 80 degrees. That rarely happens for this event. The morning rain did ease off… The sun came out… And it was a beautiful day.

This weekend was all about people for me.

I had an incredible assistant. Thank you so much, Anneliese for volunteering to help me out this weekend. You were phenomenal.

The shop was very busy with friends old and new stopping in to say hi, take a look at millinery, and even sew for a spell. The museum posted a photo looking at the millinery shop from across the square, on Facebook that made me laugh. The busy moment was taking this photo below showing off two of my newest hats worn by two lovely friends.

The shop was packed for each day during the battle in the village. I played with the panoramic setting rotating in a circle.

I am now at home. The shop is deconstructed. Itn2was so very nice seeing everyone. I will admit, it was such a whirlwind, it is kind of a blurr. So, I don’t dare do individual acknowledgements. I am sad I won’t see some friends for a whole year. I already have a list of improvements or enhancements for next year (a foot stool, a wall mirror)

I learned some things this year:

  • Glue stick does not hold up to rainy weather.
  • I can upload videos to fb from the village.
  • Interpretive millinery gaps bugs me.
  • Sewing projects will arrive on their own.
  • Write it down (and take a photo)

I am delighted to find my Millinery Shop was one of Dave Valvo’s first stop for photos. Please take a look at his photos:

Published in: on July 22, 2018 at 6:34 pm  Comments (1)  

Good Morning from the Millinery Shop

The weather was lovely as I arrived at the museum Saturday morning. It played out to be a very nice day, not getting too hot, with a nice breeze.

I had time to do a couple videos before people arrived.

Here is a second video looking at what I had in my sewing box.

Sunday looks like it may be damp or rainy or humid, despite a lower temperature. So, I won’t get to wear my V&A dress I love, becaus the block print does a bleading thing. I may just brave my black and red wool. Crazy?n

Published in: on July 21, 2018 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment