Three Unusual Portraits

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Sometimes, on my researching adventures, I come across paintings or photographs of individuals that stop my wandering eyes in an instant.  Whether it is something about their pose, or their outfit, or the fact that I feel like I can connect with their personality, images like the ones in today’s post just fascinate me.  

This first one features the wonderful giggliness of a young girl from the 1850’s! What a sweetheart!!!  And a wonderful example of children’s fashion.  

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This next painting I found to be a fantastic example of late 1700’s styling and fashion.  The smile, the gown, THAT HAT….its all absolutely beautiful!

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Portrait Of E. N. Arsenyeva
By Vladimir Borovikovsky, 1796

This last portrait (c. 1860) caught my eye as the riding gown this woman is wearing has the most amazing placement of tucks.  I can just envision her riding a horse with that long, flowy skirt fluttering behind her!

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Such beautiful examples of fashion, creativity, and personality!

I see images of individuals from various time periods everyday…hundreds of pictures, drawings, paintings….and yet, only a few cause me to stop and admire. I like to think that it is something from their spirit reaching out to me.  I also like to think that if these individuals were around today, I bet they would be close friends!

And then I also wonder, if in a hundred years or so, someone like myself will come across my picture.  Someone who has an interest in historical fashion and I wonder if they will think my picture, my outfit, my smile may be worthy of a second glance……. 🙂

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September Favorites

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Last night was the first time in months where I woke up freezing.  In fact, around 3am I stumbled to the living room to grab another throw blanket to keep me warm until it was time to roll out of bed.  Even at 7am the chill was enough to send my searching for slippers.  In January, I would never let the house get so cold, but in September….I’m savoring every chilly bit of it!

Today’s post is all about favorites.  Some new, some old, but all 100% drool worthy!  To start with, I am in love with this magazine cover from Good Housekeeping.  I have several print outs of from this publication that hang up in my sewing studio…and I may just have to add this one to the mix!

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A few weeks ago, my husband and I went on a little vacation and found a place with an amazing collection of fiestaware!  With these cheery dishes still on my mind, I came across this vintage ad where you can get a table setting for 8 for a very reasonable price!  I wish they still sold dishes this way!

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This next favorite is a two for one.  I adore not only the finished garment, but I love seeing the pattern pieces used to construction this 1950’s gem!  Although, walking really wouldn’t be an option in that dress….

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This fun teapot from Wayfair would make any chilly evening a little warmer!  Click HERE to purchase.

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And who wouldn’t love to wear an amazing apron like this 1870’s one while working in the kitchen! 😉

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So as I pull my fleece up a little tighter, I plan on making the most of this chilly day…and I hope you will join me!
Happy Monday!

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How to Create a Skirt Placket

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Knowing how to create a skirt placket is a very easy, yet very vital skill when it comes to sewing.  Whether you sew historical pieces, vintage or modern, a properly sewn placket adds a crisp and tailored look!

Begin by taking a 4 inch wide piece of fabric and cut it as as long as you need. I usually cut my plackets 4″ x 10″, but it is up to you. Then press down the top of one long side.

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Now this part is the key to a properly constructed placket!  Take your skirt and identify where you want the placket: center back, side, front.  Cut the skirt half the measurement of the placket. For example, I will have my cut go down 5″.  Then pin the placket to the edge of this cut, right sides together.   Line up the raw edges until around 2″ on either side of the middle of the cut, then begin to pin the placket 1/4″ above the skirt.  See the pictures below…the skirt is on top of the placket.

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This is what will allow the placket to hang properly.  Go ahead and stitch a 1/4″ seam along the entire placket – however, note that the skirt will barely have any seam allowance the closer you get to the center of the skirt.

Now, press the placket in half towards the inside and stitch the folded edge over the raw edge of the skirt.

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Then, fold the skirt right sides together and stitch a diagonal line across the bottom of the folded placket.

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And that’s it!  

Notice how the placket naturally falls with one side laying over the other.  Baste the side that lays on top of the other placket down along the top and continue your skirt as desired!

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Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial!

Have a wonderful day!

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Seaside Bungalows and Forest Retreats

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I think everyone can agree that if you are looking for a place to relax, heading to the mountains or the ocean is a good idea.  I know those two locations tend to be my go to! 🙂  Many others who, perhaps, can’t escape the city life all that often, try to create a mini retreat right in their own home.  This is a wonderful idea for anyone looking for a calming and “vacation-y” space to come home to each night.

Of course, heading away to a beautiful spot is not an unusual or brand new idea.  People for decades have been craving space to relax in, and many are fortunate enough to own a little piece of land right along the shore line or tree line.  This trend really began to build around the end of the 19th century with the rising middle class, and books were written specifically to help these new summer vacationers build their homes just right.

Henry Saylor wrote Bungalows: Their Design, Construction, and Furnishing: With Suggestions for Camps, Summer Homes, and Cottages of Similar Character, in 1911 specifically for this growing population.  And even though that is one long title, I do find the subject and text fascinating.  Here are few pages from the book highlighting seaside and forest bungalows:

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Read that middle paragraph again between the two pictures.

What a beautiful thought that the colors of the house should “secure that intimate relationship between a home and its surroundings that conveys an impression of peace and stability rather than eternal strife and unfitness.”  Let us all hope that our homes (inside and out) convey peace and stability to others and those that dwell in them.

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I love how the author describes the need for the construction of the seaside home to be built to catch the ocean breezes….ahhhhh….what a thought!  Of course, it wouldn’t be a post about homes without a few house plans…here are a few of my favorites that I could see in the mountains or along the coast line.

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So even if you don’t have a little place somewhere, make your little place now, that little somewhere!…..if that makes sense! 😉

Happy Monday everyone!

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A Photography Session in the Woods…

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After a solid week of sewing for 12 hours a day, I was able to meet my goal of sewing seven Regency Era pieces!  It was a big accomplishment and one not likely to be tried again…at least for a few weeks! 🙂  

After finishing all these pieces, I really wanted to take their pictures outside.  Up to this point, all pictures of my gowns have been taken in my sewing studio, but this time, I wanted something different.  Not to far from my house is a little park that I knew would be the perfect place.  So early one morning, I loaded up my car and took off for a little adventure.  Despite the fact I really should have worn boots (mud galore), the overall experience was wonderful, and I am very pleased with my first attempt at outdoor photography!

I hope you enjoy!

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Have a wonderful day everyone!!

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On My Inspiration Board: Camel Gowns

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I have learned several things in preparation of today’s post.

  1. The camel color stems from the use of camel hair as a fabric which has been used for centuries.
  2. The term cameline describes a knock off the above mentioned fabric of camel hair.
  3. The color camel is very subjective from decade to decade and person to person.

Is it going out on a limb to say that camel looks good on everyone?  I think that it does.  In finding images for my board, I noticed that people of all ages and colors looked great in this warm tan tone.  I personally love camel and have several pieces of it in my wardrobe.  As neutral as navy, brown, or black, camel offers a more sophisticated look.  And designers have made a fortune launching this color into high fashion.

But what about historical fashion?  Well, this was a bit tricky.  I was able to find a few examples of camel colored gowns, however there appeared to be a large gap from 1830-1860.  In between these decades, brown seems to have been the more dominate color of choice.  In addition, I noticed that what I think is the color camel, is not what other people make think is camel.  Take a look at this gown from the late 1860’s.  It is described as camel with brown trim, yet to me I see tan or butterscotch:

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Hmmmm….I’m just not sure.

But, I suppose if one is looking for camel colored gowns, this one would certainly fit.

Anyways, whiles I was not able to find as many examples as I have in the past, I still found the choices available to be absolutely stunning.  So, here is this month’s inspiration board of camel colored gowns:

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As always, feel free to visit my Pinterest Page to see more gowns of this color.

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War of 1812 Reenactment

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Last weekend, I attended a War of 1812 Reenactment at Old Fort Niagara in New York State.  I absolutely adore this fort, not only for its history, but its beauty and amazing views.  While the fort did have some involvement with the conflict known as the War of 1812, its importance spans back towards early colonial days.  With strategic value, the fort was consistently vied for by the French, English, and Americans.  Even after losing its appeal following the construction of the Erie Canal in 1825, the fort has not lost its importance to the New York area…even spending a brief time as a POW camp during World War II.

While my favorite reenactment Fort Niagara hosts is for the French and Indian War, I was very excited to experience a time period that often gets overlooked in the reenacting world…at least around these parts. So with a camera in one hand, and an ice cream cone in the other (I know, not very accurate, but hey, I was a tourist for the day), I had a wonderful time snapping some great shots!  I hope you enjoy!

One of the lookout towers on the perimeter of the fort.

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The main part of the fort consists of the castle which was build by the French in 1679.  Sturdy, relatively spacious, and brilliantly located, this building is my favorite of the entire fort!

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The many views the fort’s location offers.  If you look closely at the second picture, you can see the Toronto skyline.

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The Trader’s Room inside the castle.

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The Kitchen of the fort….

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One wonderful aspect of this reenactment was the variety of uniforms one could see…

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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any good shots of female reenactors at this event.  Bummer!   Regardless, it was a wonderful day and I can’t wait to go again next year!

Do you know of any other War of 1812 reenactments?  I would love to hear about them!!!

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“Let’s Eat Outdoors”

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For many Americans (especially those up north) today marks the end of summer.  Even though the actual day may still be a few weeks away, Labor Day seems to be the “unofficial, official” end.  With school starting this week, along with football season, the overwhelming desire to put out pumpkins, mums, and bales of hay can become very strong.  However, Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah where families get together for one last outdoor BBQ.  At this particular meal, everyone is very careful to avoid mentioning the leaves changing, or that they brought out their winter sweaters from storage…and above all, no one, I mean NO ONE is to dare breath a word indicating that a school bus will be showing up at one’s house tomorrow morning.  It is sort of an unspoken code of honor between parents and students ….eh…I mean, children!

So even though tomorrow means fall, school, and sweaters….today is all about summer picnic eating!  To celebrate, I have collected some of my favorite vintage images of picnics, camping, and BBQ’s.  So after you enjoy today’s post, go enjoy a delicious BBQ burger!!

Who wouldn’t love to chow down on a delicious spread like this!!

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I adore all things thermos and plaid…and even though this advertisement may be fore Christmas…I can’t help but imagine this spread out on a picnic blanket!

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Okay, I am not exactly sure I know what is being served here….the olive checkerboard dish is sort of weirding me out.  However, I would totally dig into those tasty little pies!

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I love the casualness of this set up.  A small little patio BBQ is perfect for just a few friends to enjoy!

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Camping is also a very popular activity to do Labor Day weekend as the heat has mostly dissipated. While I never looked as put together as this family does following a night sleeping in a tent, I love their view!

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Ahh….a picnic by the water…with dad taking another picture! 🙂

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Happy Labor Day everyone!  Take sometime to enjoy the last hurrah of summer….and make sure to set those alarms extra early for tomorrow!

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