Sunday, February 28, 2010

Little Women

The Little Women Event was tons of fun! Thanks Rebecca for asking me to be a judge! I loved getting to see everyone's entries. For the larger categories it was so hard to decide on my top two choices. Each and every one was lovely and unique! As soon as all the judges send in their top two picks to Rebecca, you will be able to vote on your favorites. So be sure to get involved in choosing the winners! I look forward to seeing the final results!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

1941 Wedding Ensemble

This weekend Mom and I made the find of a lifetime at an estate sale. 1941 wedding dress, shoes, slip, gloves, stockings, and veil! All so beautiful and in such wonderful condition. The bride must have always treasured and carefully kept each piece.

The dress has a classic early 40s sillouette with the gathers at the bust and the extremely fitted waist. It has the most amazing 5-foot train that swishes and flows like you wouldn't believe. The cream satin fabric looks brand new and the darker cream lace at the neckline is so beautiful and delicate.

The veil is such a cute little 'bonnet' style. It's so long and lovely. I felt like a princess!

Simply elegant heels. Unfortunately, they didn't fit.

I just listed it for sale in my Etsy store. I felt like I wanted to keep it, but its really not a style I would wear at my wedding. It is such a special collection that I'm sure someone would love to wear it on their own special day.

For all pictures see my photobucket album.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Award...

I've been given The Beyond Your Imagination award by Nibs! Thank you!


1. List 8 stories or books that you would like to live in (for two weeks?)

not necessarily in order...

1. Quentin Durward (Sir Walter Scott)
*sigh* be Isabelle.....

2. Mansfield Park

3. Sarah Morgan (a non-fiction 1860s diary)

4. Lord of the Rings (can they count as one book?)

5. Eight Cousins (Louisa May Alcott)

6. Castle Dangerous (Sir W.S.)

7. Sense and Sensibility

8. Rilla of Ingleside

2. List 8 other bloggers who deserve this award 3. Comment on their blog, and tell them they won an award.

1.  Sarah at Chick Chat

2.  Bethany at Diary of a Seamtress

3.  Aurora at The Secret Dreamworld of a Jane Austen Fan

4.  Mia at Aspiring Homemaker

5. Rebecca at Singing in His Name

6. Ashley and Gabrielle at Bramblewood Fashion

7. The Dashwood Ladies at Hooks and Needles

8. Celine at Iradessa

New Wool Dress!

Just today - this very day - I finished my new wool dress. I purchased the lovely fabric at Golden D'or in Ft. Worth. It was labeled as Italian wool. $10 a yard. Not a steal-deal, but not too bad. Also - it wasn't a color I would have chosen (I look washed out in pale colors), but the fabric bolt almost jumped into my arms and begged me to take it home. So it did. To make up for the color it does have some good qualities- it is so lightweight (almost thinner than quilting cotton) yet has a gorgeous drape and hand. I'm hoping it will be warm enough for cold weather events!

This is meant to be an 'everyday', mulit-purpose dress. It's not too nice that I will be afraid to wash dishes, yet it is classy enough that I wouldn't feel ashamed to attend an informal country dance.

The sleeves are a pleated variation on a bishop sleeve. I pulled them from an 1854 Godey's. I've had them sketched up and waiting for my next wool dress for several years now. 

Buttons are vintage white china piecrusts. Decorative - not functional. The patterns I worked from were Past Patterns Darted Bodice and Garabaldi Shirt. (yes - I've  been very bad and haven't made my own toile yet...)

I had lots of fitting issues with the bodice and armscyes. Hopefully your eyes don't see all the little imperfections mine do. :^) But - over all I am very happy with the way it turned out. Now I just need a reenactment...

Well, well. Without further rambling, on to the pictures. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Book Review: Just Jane

My dear friend Cari recently sent me a book she thought I would like. (and she must know me pretty well - because I loved it!)

The book chronicles the life of Jane Austen, beginning when she is a young woman of twenty looking forward to an upcoming engagement. It is told from her point of view - so the reader is privy to all her deepest thoughs and wishes. At times the 'random thoughts' point of view got just a little grating - but really it was hardly noticeable, as the story moved along fairly quick. All of her family members and friends were very well portrayed and fleshed out. The author skillfully guides the reader along the various paths of her everyday life, Jane's fictional written characters, her friends and family, and her dissapointed love interests. It seemed very well researched and very minute on points of detail that I found very interesting. It even included excerpts from some of Jane's actual letters. There was also a nice section of historical notes, detailing what was fact and what was fiction in the back of the book, which I appreciated very much. Reading this book really helped me to see how much Jane Austen really drew on her own life experiences and knowlege of the people around her and translated these into her writing and  characters. Now I want to read some of her books again, armed with my new knowledge and vision of the author!

Highly recommend for any Jane Austen fan!

Also go check out the slideshow tour of Jane Austen's home currently on the Masterpeice website.
Be sure to enter the Jane Austen DVD giveaway on the main page as well!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Recipe: Coconut Macaroon Bars

Time for me to share my latest recipe discovery!

One afternoon last week I made this delectable dessert to take to a friend's house that evening. The recipe is from and is actually called Lemon-Scented Coconut Macaroon Bars. Except I prefer to leave off the 'lemon-scented' bit. Sounds too much like a candle.

I was a little afraid what with the delicate beating of the egg white topping, it would be difficult - but I was pleasantly surprised! If you can make brownies - or cornbread - this recipe will be a cinch.
The only change I made was to use unsweetened flaked coconut instead of sweetened. The bars were absolutely delicious - very light not overly sweet - but very flavorful. The lemon and coconut flavors are wonderful! Do be careful not to over-cook the crust - and have fun spreading the topping! I did! It was like playing with snow that doesn't melt. :^) Enjoy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Antique Clipart

Right quick I wanted to share a great resource for old-timey free clipart. (Fiddlin' Girl - this is for you!)
I've used many of the lovely Victorian images for cards and recipe books.... lots of possibilites. Have fun!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The (New) Old Days

You know - sometimes everyday life really doesn't seem that far removed from the 19th century.
Today we began the day at six-thirty. By seven thirty we had the pickup - oops! I mean the carriage - stuck deep in mud. After that little adventure my brother and I walked the 3-mile round trip of muddy dirt road to fetch the mail. (including a bundle of delicious brown wool that finally arrived!) When we got back I rested by the woodstove and did a little handsewing - while listening to my sister's minute-by-minute report on the status of our milkcow, Betsy. (her calf is due any second now!) In the afternoon I did the initial bodice fitting on my new blue wool plaid work/day dress. Until I was called away to grind the wheat to make the piecrust for our supper of venison and vetetable pot-pie.

Now - I can't see how it could be very far-fetched to say that a day like that could easily have been pulled from the pages of history?
 I love it and thank God every day for life in the country!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Cook Books!

For Christmas I recieved a set of wonderful little books by Barbara Swell. I would highly recommend them to anyone who loves cooking, history, and all things old-timey! Besides being full of great recipes (many unchanged from the original recipes handed down from generation to generation), every page is gorgeously decorated with tintypes, CDVs, and black-and-white illustrations pulled from old fashioned books and ladies magazines. So it's great - I can look for a new recipe, and do costume research at the same time!
The author also includes various tidbits of old-time lore and Southern wisdom - and little true stories that often have me laughing out loud. Excellent for just a good read by the woodstove - and for a great recipe resource! Published by Native Ground.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I never had the desire to get my ears pierced. But - on occasion (mostly when attending reenactment balls) I did wish for some little elegant, silvery, dangly bit of earring to complete my outfit. Well - last fall I discovered the perfect solution. Magnetic earrings! I happened up on Suzy Mei Mei , and Etsy store that has many different types of lovely little magnetic earrings. I ordered a pair of silver and aquamarine little earrings last year, and have worn them to two different dances - I was a little paranoid that they might slip off during the energetic Virginia Reels, or the Polka, but I had no reason to fear! They stayed put  and looked great all night. Anyway - I hope the girls who don't have pierced ears will appreciate learning about this fun option as much as I have!

Monday, February 1, 2010

'Emma' Hairstyle

I love the hair style tutorials over at Rapunzel's Resource. My hair is about waist length - and not layered, so sometimes it is hard to find new and pretty styles. This is my favorite one so far that I have tried with the tutorials. It is from the Gweneth Paltrow Emma movie. Instructions are here. I love it because the hair is all coiled semi flat to the head, so the weight is distributed evenly. (No headaches!)


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