Friday, June 28, 2019

A Yellow Peasant Blouse

This project is from at least a month ago but I had some pictures of it on my camera and figured I'd post about it, even if it is late. Man, it's almost the end of June and I think I've sewn absolutely nothing this month. Dang.

The kiddos and Judah and I celebrated the first day of summer
with a great walk through the woods, where we found lots of wildflowers, feathers,
and even saw a fawn looking at us from the brush!
The past few weeks I've been sick-ish, starting with a feeling of just general unwellness and tiredness and then turning into terrible back pain that turned out to be another kidney infection, probably caused by kidney stones. Not fun! I just finished my course of antibiotics and am feeling so much better. I've also made some changes to my way of eating the past month that, hopefully, will prevent me from getting sick like this again.

I've been following the ketogenic way of eating the past almost three years and it's been fantastic for me, at least until recently. But the past few months, well, I guess since the beginning of the year or thereabouts, I have been increasingly tired and feel foggy more and more. Every time I ate, I'd dread it since my stomach hurt so bad and I felt uncomfortably full after just a few bites. I was swollen and bloated and felt horrible. Mowing the lawn wiped me out. My workouts became more difficult and left me so exhausted. This isn't me. What the hell. And then, to top it off, I felt like I was in a constant state of PMS. (tmi sorry!) Everything hurt. Especially my boobs, which is one reason why I have pretty much given up wearing bras except for when social decency is absolutely required. 😂

After a lot of reading and evaluating what exactly I was doing or eating differently than usual I discovered that sometimes stevia can affect your hormone production and all the symptoms that were described fit me exactly. And I was using stevia A LOT. I decided to ditch it and now, a month or so out, all my symptoms are gone. I also decided that the super-low-carb-super-high-fat-moderate-protein way of eating may be causing my stomach pain every time I ate. I was craving fruits and vegetables and, above all, oddly, plain oatmeal. So, I decided to alter my macros a little so I'm having a little more carbs, a lot less fat and about the same amount of protein. And wow, I feel better. I feel like I can do more for a longer period of time. This is weird since when I started keto, I felt tons better. Maybe after awhile keto loses its affect? Or maybe my body just needed a few more good, natural carbs. I'm not eating bags of sugar (although I'm letting myself have a little in my coffee instead of using stevia!) but it's nice to have some fruit and more veggies that would otherwise be considered "bad". And to not be worried if I don't get enough fat.

Anyway, hopefully July will bring with it a little time to sew. I cleaned out my closet a month or so ago and got rid of almost everything I had that was not me-made. It surprised me to see how much I have that I have made myself and, compared to last year, surprised me to see how much I actually did accomplish over this last year. It is a good feeling and I am happy with what I have. I don't really need to make anything more but if I do, I can carefully make exactly what I want and not rely on whatever is on sale at Goodwill or at garage sales. It's a great feeling!

I've been researching tons about early period clothing and made a set of tablets to try tablet weaving whenever I get some time to do it. I'm super excited about it and although it will probably be awhile before I can make a historically accurate early period ensemble I want to hone my skills a little and get as much practice in as I can. From past experience, I know the first of anything is rarely great, so my first attempts will be for simple things I can use in modern day life instead of proper historical recreations. But it's so nice to feel a bit passionate about something sewing related again.

This post has almost absolutely nothing to do with the project pictures I've included 😂 but that's ok - the yellow blouse is the free pattern from Melly Sews and fits exactly right, which thrilled me. No altering necessary! I made it in a lightweight mystery fabric from Wal Mart that works well for summer, with an exterior facing trimmed in vintage lace. I love this blouse and wear it very often as it goes with almost everything I have in my closet.

This week summer has definitely arrived and the heat and high humidity require cool clothing!

Much love,


Saturday, June 15, 2019

A Crocheted Halter Top

First, thank you so much to everyone who responded to my last post, both here and privately. I appreciate every one of your comments so much and the encouragement and sympathy. I almost deleted that post after publishing it but I'm glad I left it up. Thank you!

Sweet wildflowers the other day at Serpent Mound
I haven't been sewing much this month, mainly because I am almost never home. I did get to finish this little crochet project, which absolutely thrilled me. Because, I've never really been able to get the hang of crochet.
Forgive the awful quality phone pics. Starting the cups. . .
Finished! Laid out on the other half of the wool blanket left after making my drum bag 😁
My great-grandma (MawMaw) taught me how to make a very long chain many years ago. She sent me home with a ball of yarn and a hook and I amused myself by making various chained strings. I couldn't figure out how to build upon a chain to make, you know, something useful. 😁 A few years ago I somehow managed to crochet a Princess Leia hat for Rosie's Halloween costume but I am still not sure how I did that. It involved jumbo thickness yarn and a size 15 crochet hook!

Rosie STILL uses this hat although now, almost three years later, its definitely very worn. 
I do knit, not very well, but I preferred it to crochet since it made sense to me. Since having an IV in my hand last fall, though, (they refused to flush it or move it when I complained more than once about the pain and the area around it was raised and red and hot) I am pretty sure my hands have nerve damage and I cannot hold my knitting needles for long without pain. For that matter, I can't do much hand sewing for long without pain. I decided to give crochet another try and bought some cheap cotton yarn and a hook at Wal Mart to give this project a go. I thought maybe crochet would be easier on my hands.

The yarn isn't the best quality but I love this color green!
That was a few months ago but I finally decided to start this last week and yesterday I finished it! I had to restart it a few times as I made plenty of mistakes starting out and I deviated from the pattern by making a graded band for the sides/back that wraps and ties in the front, and I added more rows to the cups and had to gather the bottoms because my boobs are a really weird size BUT OH MY GOSH I CROCHETED THIS! And it looks mostly ok. And it fits. And best of all, it's comfortable and soft and even in my current bra-hating state, I do not at all mind wearing this. I wore it last night, in fact, under a t shirt to my sons baseball game.

This skirt goes with almost everything.

The skirt is a quick one I made a month or so ago out of leftovers from a few projects I made earlier this spring. The fabric is absolutely awesome so I was happy I had just enough left for this skirt! I made it to replace an old one I wore so much it literally fell apart. Before tossing the old skirt I took a pattern off it and replicated it in this material. This material is slightly more heavy than the original but not much. The waist is shirred with a continuous spiral of elastic machine shirring. So easy to wear and this material holds up fantastically to washing. It's a bit big so I need to make the elastic tighter but it still works for now (until a child yanks on it and darts away, laughing) I made a bralette out of the same fabric to go with the skirt but I don't have any pictures of it yet. The woven, sewn bralette definitely isn't as comfy as this gently structured crocheted one.

It's been a cold week but I know the weather will heat back up soon and I will get a lot of wear out of this over the next month or two. Now that I successfully completed this one, I am going to try a different pattern for a similar top out of nicer yarn. And of course I'll need another skirt. 😁 Thankfully, it does seem that holding a crochet hook isn't nearly as hard on my hands as holding knitting needles so I even have lofty ambitions of crocheting a cotton granny square blanket for my bed before winter arrives. We will see!

Much love,

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Heritage Village Civil War Weekend

A few weeks ago we attended Heritage Village Civil War weekend. This event is normally held in July but this year they held it in May. I took the kids out for the day on Saturday and I had the opportunity to wear my newly remade blue dress. It was a hot day and the kids were cranky and hungry and sweaty by the end of it, but I think they all had a great time. My oldest son was happy to hang around the blacksmith and was able to make a few little projects, my 10 year old was thrilled to have the chance to take his drum out on the field and the girls packed two baskets of dollies and toys to bring and set up their own little imaginary worlds on the reproduction quilt a dear friend made for Anne when she was a baby. Benjamin bought a wooden rifle and so was utterly content. Judah lazed about in the shade. 😁
Eating a non-period-correct bag of chips at lunch time. :D

Sweet Anne. Yes,  her glasses are definitely modern but this is a time where
modern need comes before period appearance. Eventually we will get period frames!

My little drummer boy!
It was hot. I had conflicting feelings about this event after it was over. I just. . .I don't know. I was surprised to see the numbers of spectators and reenactors drastically down. It seemed very quiet and empty compared to previous years. Nothing wrong with a smaller event at all, but this isn't normally a small event and it seems interest was really lacking this year. And that's how events die. I don't want this event to die. It's a wonderful, amazing historic site and hosts a lot of really cool events throughout the year. Civil War weekend is just one of them, but still, it was shocking to me to see the difference this year compared to when I have gone before.

I didn't like dressing. I don't like wearing these clothes like I used to. I don't like wearing a corset. I don't like feeling restricted in my movement. I don't like wearing shoes and long socks. I don't like doing my hair this way. I don't like how I feel about myself when I wear these clothes. I feel like how I look does not represent how I feel. This never used to be an issue with me. I used to love wearing corsets and all the petticoats and such. Hell, I even had a weird year a long time ago where I WORE A CORSET EVERY FREAKING DAY. Oh my gosh. I'm glad that is in the past. . .anyway. I just felt off. So, that affected my enjoyment of the event.

The past few years it's just been slow for me, in regards to the hobby. I don't know if this is because I am burnt out on living history or because I am changing. I've really questioned why I used to do this, why I continue to do this (although on a much smaller scale than previously) and why I may or may not want to continue doing this. I used to get so much satisfaction and joy from researching all the time, sewing lots of pretty clothes and dressing my kids in cute outfits. I liked camping and cooking over a fire. I liked the people I met and spending time with old and new friends (and I still do). And now, I just feel like it's overdone, blah, and not as enjoyable as it used to be. A little bit of eventing does it for me now. Back in the day I'd get post event blues and as soon as one event was over I'd be anxiously planning for the next. Now, I am relieved when an event is over and there aren't any more coming up for a long time. I look back and see myself 10 or 12 years ago and think. . .that was shallow. I was shallow. I wasted so much time, physical energy and mental energy on something that is a fricking hobby. I didn't develop my mind at all because I was too busy developing my impression.

What is wrong with me? Maybe nothing? My priories are different now. There is so much more to life than reenacting. I always knew that, of course. . .but now, all that time I used to spend getting ready for events I am spending living normal life and there just isn't time left over like there used to be. And if there is, I want to spend it in other ways. For that reason, I've made almost no new reenacting clothes for anyone for a long time and I haven't really researched much at all lately. Now, true, I have been really pursuing the history of the first wave of feminism in the US and am yes, actually excited about making a reform dress for myself sometime soon but that's it.

I  made this boy size RD2 type jacket for Malachi earlier
this year - February I think? - but never blogged about it.
It won't fit him much longer! He wears it often. I think he was the only child
in school this year to wear a Civil War jacket to graduation day. 😁

Malachi at 4th grade graduation a few weeks ago! Congratulations to him and all his
awesome classmates! They are a great group of energetic kids. 

Rosie playing her bird whistle, lil Anne and myself. And yes, I was totally over the event
by this point. :D
 Dang, I didn't mean for this post to be so depressing. 😂 I guess I've just really been thinking lately about which direction I want to take with my living history stuff. More and more I send the boys with their dad if they want to go to an event and I do something else. Or if I go out, I go only for a day and then spend the following weeks wondering why I didn't like it as much as I would have a few years ago. I wonder why I have had a dress length of pretty silk for a ball gown for the past few  years and have aboslutely zero desire to actually make it into a ball gown and if I actually did make the dress, have zero desire to go to a ball. Why it takes me weeks of mentally building up to making a simple garment (like a pair of drawers for one of the girls) before I actually take the plunge and cut and sew something that takes two hours, at most, to actually make. I don't have this problem with modern sewing, just historic stuff in general and 1860's in particular. 😞

Then I think, you know what, there is absolutely nothing wrong with how I feel about reenacting. I used to feel this way about church, and was able, over the course of some years, to identify and accept my preferences as authentic to myself, instead of feeling I needed to force myself to continue doing things and going places I really did not wish to do or be at. Reenacting is similar. I don't need to force myself to keep doing things and going places. There is nothing wrong with finding different ways to spend time, or different hobbies to find fulfillment in. Not reenacting as much as I used to doesn't make me a bad person. It doesn't make me less of a person. Sewing one new historic dress in a span of a year isn't less worthy than sewing a dozen ones during one season. Feeling unfulfilled in reenacting isn't a sign that something is wrong with me; it's a sign that I need to focus more on what does fulfill me.

I get a lot of people telling me "Oh, you need to start getting out to events more" or "I'd love to see you start sewing more historic stuff again" or "you used to make so much and I loved reading about your projects!" and I feel guilty I haven't done that and feel obligated to those people - to internet strangers! - to go to events and make historic projects, simply so I have something that is interesting, to those people, who are strangers, to post on my blog and other social media. Oh my gosh, how wrong is that mindset?! It's awful!
Of course, there are always arguments I can make in favor of continuing to reenact regulary: it's great for the kids, it presents history in a way that spectators can physically engage in and respond to, it honors our ancestors, it gives us opportunities to research cool things, it gives us the chance to develop cool skills, it is a great way to meet people with a similar passion for history, and, often, it can be quite fun!
I didn't mean to write such a lengthy post - I'm sorry! I guess I'm just thinking and typing my thoughts as they come instead of writing a more impersonal post. I try to avoid putting too much personal stuff in my posts but, well, this is what is affecting what this whole blog is about - historic sewing - so I felt I needed to at least explain my thoughts about that right now! 😁

May all blessings of late spring be abundant to you and those you love.

Much love,