Saturday, October 30, 2010

18th Century Market Fair

I returned once again to Locust Grove  today, former home of William and Lucy Croghan and Lucy's brother George Rogers Clark. This time, however, it was not for the Jane Austen Festival, but for the 18th Century Market Fair.  A festival celebrating the time of our countries battle for independence.  I was purely a spectator this time. I haven't the outfits for Revolutionary War reenacting.
My friend Laura, my daughter Jane and I arrived early in the day. The mist was still lifting, and the grounds were quiet. The air was full of the wispy scent of burning wood.
The only sounds apparent where those of campfires crackling and utensils clanking in breakfast bowls of porridge and plates of bacon and eggs.

We felt a bit sheepish witnessing families preparing for the day....but it was fascinating, none-the-less.  Jane thought all of the ladies and girls were dressing as princesses.

It wasn't long, though before the market began to stir.  Other spectators arrived, and shops began to open for the day.

While there, we ate some delicious rice and barbacoa, cooked by these handsome fellas and their wives.

We munched on some of the best cheese and bread I've had in a long time. (I caught this shot before they were finished setting up...that's why you see the boxes in the back...I was salivating so much for these delicious baked goods that I didn't bother with paying attention to my surroundings and nearly tripped over a rope!)

I was also drooling over these beautifully handcrafted replicas of 18th century furniture....but, my pocketbook can barely afford the bread and cheese...so, these beauties will have to wait a while to come home with me.

A few of Jane's favorite moments at the festival was sitting in this pint-sized chair...
...and seeing this dappled gray horse.

One of my favorite moments was seeing this beautiful gown and cloak (sort of reminded me of Halloween....the colors, maybe?)

And then, of course, who could resist this adorable display of children's clothing.  Fuel for another future project for sure!

I've been thinking about making a cap for myself, and a bonnet for Jane.  I really like the style of the one above.

Here's Jane's cheesy grin as she tries on a bonnet.  I was a little flabbergasted by how much this simple little bonnet cost.  The lady selling it was asking $20 for it!  I'm sure I could make it for MUCH less.

Being a late 18th Century Reenactment, there was quite a bit of British hostility toward us Americans...these gentlemen marched around yelling at and scolding nearly everyone they saw...calling them names I'd rather not repeat!

No matter though...we managed to infiltrate the British camp...

...and carry back their secrets to the Rebels.
One patriot gave us a fascinating lecture on the different sorts of cannon balls used to kill the enemy.  Some of his descriptions of the damage done from one of these pieces of metal were quite graphic.  I never knew there were so many kinds of cannon balls....used for so many different purposes.

On a lighter note, we listened to the lilting Scottish melodies of these musicians.  Lovely sound...but I must admit...most of the time my mind was wondering how these men in such short kilts could stand being out in the 40 degree weather!  Brrrrrr!

Oh, and remember how ridiculous I felt at the last reenactment I went to, having to eat out of Styrofoam bowls and drink out of paper cups....well, that will never again be the case!  I used the last of my birthday money to purchase two beautiful, wood fired, salt glazed mugs from an artist named J.-Henderson who researches stoneware artifacts of the period and hand crafts pottery to replicate what he finds.

And these three little beauties will do just fine for our meals.  Laura remarked that they reminded her of the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  Tee-hee-hee...that, I like.

Now the only thing left to purchase are the eating utensils.

It was an enchanting, Autumn day.  We weren't able to stay for the mock battle, because Jane was due for a nap, but I really do think that everyone should learn where and when reenactments are taking place near their communities.  They are such a fun and relaxing way to spend your day, not to mention educational.

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I'm sorry if the pictures aren't 'click-able'...Blogger is giving me fits.  To veiw more pictures of the day, or to see them in larger views, please visit my Photobucket File at:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trick or Treat

Bibbity-bobbity-boo!
Last night, my school had their annual "Trunk or Treat Festival."   I'm not really sure why they call it a "Trunk or Treat," because there aren't any cars involved...certainly no trunks.  Instead, the hallways are lined with decorated doorways, teachers dressed up in costumes, and fantastical displays of creativity, like the tea table in Alice and Wonderland, and the complete cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

We decided on a Cinderella Theme.  I like the Cinderella story...what girl doesn't...but the main reason was because we had outfits that, with only a little modification, could be transformed into passable Cinderella characters.

My Jane's costume was a gift from her Nana last year, and other than wearing it around the house, this was it's debut.  It was the only costume I didn't make.

The evening was fun, although a little overwhelming...crowded, hot hallways and hundreds of kids wearing masks would be enough to unnerve even the most hardy of costume and party fanatics.

Most everyone, child and adult alike, knew my daughter was Cinderella and my husband Prince Charming, but only a few adults guessed correctly who I was.  The children were completely stumped....which leads me to believe I didn't succeed in my costume making endeavor. :-(  Can you tell who I'm supposed to be?

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Bear Necessities

I'm the director of my school's Intermediate Theater Club.  This year, 34 of our 4th, 5th, and 6th graders are under my care (note: ONLY my care...it's pretty crazy during rehearsals), and we are putting on the play "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling.

Not only am I the director of these 34 lovely, young hooligans.  I'm also the costume and set designer.

For the past two weeks, I've been up to my ears in faux fur.

My basement floor looks like a bear has been rolling around on the carpet. 

My sewing machine has clogged itself twice from all of the fluff, and I've broken two needles in the process.  My fingers are sore from bending wires and using a VERY hot glue gun.

I've made red ants, a herd of elephants, a bear, a panther...

...an entire colony of monkeys, a snake, a toucan...

...a tiger, a jackal...

...and some beautiful turbans and saris for the villagers.  All that is left to do is make a pack of wolves, and the costumes are complete.  The kids help me build the set next weekend.

I'm going to need a good back scratching when all of this is over.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pelisse/Robe Update....Getting Closer


So, I'm almost finished with my Pelisse/Robe. 

I need to attach two hooks at the waist band to permanently be able to close the front.  I also have to add in the lining part of the waist band to cover all of the frayed edges of seams.  Hemming will be the last step. 

The original, "Marianne" robe is an ankle-length garment.  I am still trying to decide if I want to leave mine ankle-length (which it is now) or shorten it to shin length, like the above picture.  I'm leaning toward the second choice.

Also, the "Marianne" robe didn't have a waist band, but I rather liked the look of one....so I put that in.  The pleats on the back skirt aren't nearly as elegantly draped as the one in the top "Marianne" screenshot.  The center pleat keeps folding in on itself.  Not sure why it didn't turn out like what I had in mind...but maybe it's because I didn't make my pleats as thin...or it could be my material is thicker than whatever it was they used for the costume in the movie ....or perhaps it is because I'm not a professional movie costume designer...you think?!

Anyway, I'm sure I could go back and re-do everything, always seeing the many flaws in everything I do, but all in all, it really didn't turn out too bad.  When I'm finished, I'll post pictures of me wearing the robe.



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Look




Well, once again, the fancy background wallpaper site that I was using, pulled the rug out from underneath me.  So, I was forced to map out something new.  Except, this time, when I started trying to navigate my way around the dashboard, I accidentally (having absolutely no idea how) messed up some of the layout, including my "lady sipping tea" (or Alphonse Mucha, untitled) picture.  Me and technology don't really mix. 

So, I've been trying to come up with another picture that I like, fits with the theme of my blog (if there is really a theme) and fits better into the space at the top of my blog.  I'm still trying to decide if I am succeeding in all of this.  I am leaning toward liking the new look, but there is just that little 'something' that I am not quite sure about.  I LOVE the color scheme....much better, in fact, than the one I had before....but I sure do miss the old Mucha gal...

I might seem a little lost for a while, but I will certainly let you know when I've found my way.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pelisse/Robe Update....Revised Edition


I have been reworking my Pelisse bodice, as well as making sleeves.  The sleeves came out a bit bigger, puffier, whatever you want to call it, than I thought they would be, and I had to take them up, because they were way too long for my arms.  But I figure that having bigger sleeves probably isn't a bad thing, considering I might be wearing sweaters or other such wintry layers underneath the coat.

 I took out the four darts on each side (which, for some strange reason I called "pleats" in the last update...go figure), and put in two (real, this time) pleats on each side.

I also picked out the stitches along the back edge of the collar, straightened things up a bit, repositioned the collar, and stitched it back in place.  I think it looks much better.

This is just some of the extra fabric draped on my manikin to form the look of a skirt on the coat.  I always like to give myself a teaser and imagine what the finished product might look like.

*Note: These pictures were taken before I altered the sleeve length.*

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Paper Toys

My daughter Jane and I have discovered something incredibly fun.
Paper Toys!

To the right on my blog, under My Favorite Websites, you will see a link called The_Toy_MakerIn this adorably creative site, you will find dozens of free PDF versions of paper toys.  There is everything from a bear pushing a wagon, to moving steamboats, spinners to unicorn boxes...all of which are artistically drawn and colored in what I would describe as an "old world" style.

Each toy is printed out flat, with simple folding and cutting instructions.  I used photo paper to print mine, but any sort of heavy duty card stock or similar paper will do. 

There is a little bit of mean scissors skills involve, and at times it's a bit of a puzzle to figure out which part folds to what....but for me, that was all part of the fun.  My daughter, of course, liked it best when they were finished.

Some of the "Fairy Furniture" reminds me a bit of Tolkien, and I can easily imagine it in Bilbo Baggin's Hobbit hole.  I mean, come on....can it get any more adorable than a miniature, paper Sideboard?!  If only there were paper food and plates...surely that wouldn't be too hard to make. 

When all is said and done, the "free" toys do cost you in paper and printer ink, but the joy that comes from such simple pleasures is priceless.