Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Civil War Reenactment at Red Oak Old West Town

Back at the beginning of May we attended a small, local Civil War event held at the property of one of our group members. Howard has built all the structures himself and furnished and decorated each one with a lot of attention to detail. The kids had a lot of fun exploring the town, running all over and watching the skirmishes both days. 

We haven't had any more Civil War events since this one and now several fall events have been precautionarily cancelled as covid variants have increased illnesses and hospitalizations lately. We may possibly attend a small Civil War living history event later next month, if it seems safe to do so.

Much love,


Malachi and Judah only came out for a little while on Saturday
morning. I remade an 18th century style shirt into a mid-19th century one
for Malachi by adding a button placket and a new
white collar. This hybrid style shirt
was seen in the mid-19th century and it was much less work to alter
his shirt than make an entirely new one.

This was Benjamin's birthday weekend and he had so much fun!
I made him new linen trousers and a loose, belted tunic. However, he 
insisted on wearing a sack coat and kepi. This wouldn't have been worn by little boys
in the 1860's (except on rare occasions when someone may have had a mini uniform 
purposely made for their son) but Benjamin was happy and I don't feel super strict
about authenticity for these events anymore.

Rose wore one of Anne's old dresses - this was Sunday! One of the
buildings is a small general store and the kids loved buying candy there! Rose was very
proud of her blue tongue. 😂

Anne had to visit the horse! She loves all animals and this was the highlight of the event for her!

David purchased a vintage bugle from a sutler at the event.
Oh boy. I didn't know it then but it was the start of a summer-long
obsession for David. He discovered he has a natural knack
at bugle playing and almost immediately decided he wanted a trombone, too.
Now, in late August, he has accumulated 3 trombones (a Bach, a Bundy and a Yamaha)
and is saving up for a euphonium. His eventual goal is a tuba!

The girls brought blank books to write in and had fun drawing pictures and writing little stories.

I made Anne's dress in a day so it doesn't have the detail and trimmings I'd like, but
she didn't hate wearing it. The fabric is a really pretty purple, pink, white and blue cotton
I found at an antique shop earlier in the spring. It was $5 for 3 yards and we barely had enough fabric but we made it!

I was actually going to cut this dress down into a dress for Anne
but decided to keep it as it is and I'm glad I did. I always get a lot of positive comments
on this dress when I wear it, even though it is not my favorite. The hat was a $1 blank from Goodwill
made of a lacey open weave straw and I shaped it and added trim from an old hat that was squished beyond repair. 


Saturday, July 31, 2021

Shirts for Anne & Rose from Ragamuffin Patterns lil Rebel Raglan

I applied for testing a pattern earlier this year, in the spring when a pattern designer posted a call for testers for a cute raglan pattern for girls. I was accepted and over the next month or two sewed up a few versions of this pattern while it was in testing/tweaking stage. It's been a little while now since the final pattern was released and here are some photos of Rose and Anne modeling their finished garments!

The pattern is super versatile, with length options (from crop top to maxi length), sleeve lengths (from cap to long sleeve), neckline options, hood options, pocket options and sizes from baby through girls 12. While Anne just fits into the 12, the large sizing range will make this a definite go-to pattern for Rose through the next few years, and the ladies Rebel Raglan picks up where the girls pattern leaves off, so I can use that one as Anne grows into those sizes (how is she this big already?!)

While it's been a few years now since I started working with knits, it still is always a challenge. While I feel pretty confident with my serger now I struggled a lot with hems on knits. Double needles break in my modern machine and although I could probably take time to adjust all my machine settings to get a nice double stitched hem with a twin needle and wooly nylon in the bobbin, it seemed a huge headache to have to do that every time I need to hem on knits. 

I found a second hand coverstitch machine through Facebook marketplace and decided to get it. It was not love at first sight, or for a while. I soon learned coverstitch machines are super sensitive and I will never be able to just pop my stretchy fabric under the presser foot and merrily stitch away. I have to sew samples first, adjust the settings, make sure the needle and thread weight are correct for my fabric, etc. BUT! Once all that is done, the results are really nice. 

Although, I think my frustration with initially getting to know that machine has been partly a cause of me sewing absolutely nothing by machine since then - all hand sewing the last few months as I continue progress on my Bronze Age clothing. 

I am glad I did this test sewing and happy to have a good, basic, versatile pattern for my girls. They definitely wear these kinds of clothing much more often than any other kind. They like clothes that are cute and comfortable and that they can play and run around in. No little-house-on-the-prairie style dresses for these girls, alas! 😂 

School starts in less than 3 weeks. It's been a fun, full, busy summer and I look forward to blogging more and having time to share what has been going on once the kids are back in school. 

Much love,


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

End of School Year

Today I woke up a little before 6, as I always do and went through the morning routine of fixing breakfast and waking up the kids - first the oldest, and then an hour later the little ones. Today is their last full day of school and as I snapped a quick pic of the youngest three before we walked to the bus stop I felt that familiar bittersweet ache as I reflected on how much bigger they are than they were on the first day of school last August. 
These kids went back to school during a time full of uncertainty and many strange, new routines and precautions. They had smaller classroom sizes, spaced desks, wore masks every day and yet - well, they did it! They learned things and made friends and created beautiful art and sang songs and played on the playground at recess. At the beginning of the year their teachers weren't sure if we would have more than a few weeks of normal school before we had to go remote but even though we did have some cases of covid, the school never shut down. Benjamin had to quarantine last fall when someone in his school tested positive for Covid, and then David had to a few weeks later but they did their online schoolwork just fine and after 10 days transitioned back into a classroom setting with no problems. 

They are all immensely excited for summer break! I'm a little overwhelemd! Haha. They will all be home all summer this year so we have been making lists of fun things we can do locally and that are cost effective. Free movie day in a neighboring town each week, plenty of places to go swimming, fishing and hiking and Judah has a full schedule of baseball games over the next month and a half. There will be VBS and reading programs at the library and preparing for 4H judging this summer and the fair in September! We will be busy. 

I've been working on a few modern sewing projects as part of a test group for a girls pattern that will be released soon. I was feeling pretty apathetic about sewing so signed up for testing as a way to kind of force me to get back into it a little. I'm glad I did. It's been fun sewing things for the girls and using modern materials and sewing methods. While it's often cheaper to buy second hand clothing for the kids instead of making them from scratch it's nice to be able to sew something special for them from time to time. And the pre cut knits from Wal Mart make these kind of projects pretty darn affordable! Once the pattern is released I can share my makes! 

I think I've been so stressed lately and have lost so much interest in things because my mom has been so sick. A few weeks ago my sister messaged me that she was in really bad shape and it was definitely possible we could lose her. The hospital only allowed my dad and one other person (my brother filled that role) as visitors so it's been extremely frustrating and heartbreaking to be stuck here unable to even visit my mother. My uncle did fly out from Rhode Island and was snuck into my moms room by my brother just in case it was the last time he could see her. That same night I called my dad in a panic and he had a very rational, calm, realistic view of things that really helped me feel a lot calmer and more optimistic. Sure enough, my mother did begin to get better very soon after that. 

She continues to have her ups and downs but she is, I think, on an updward trend. So many people worldwide are praying for her! She has improved enough to be moved to a different hospital where her rehab will be more focused on. So that is a good thing! The new hospital will only allow my dad to visit so I will need to hang tight til my mom is well enough to either transfer to a facility that allows extra visitors or (most hopefully) she can go home and continue physical therapy on an outpatient basis. My sister in law, Heidi, set up a CaringBridge page for my mom and posts updates often: CaringBridge for Pam Edwards

I do have some historic sewing goals for 2021. I guess I'll make a list here as now is as good a time as any to write things down. 

1. Finish my 1890's ensemble - all I have left is the actual dress! And I have the fabric and patterns and the mock up is fitted. I just need to actually sew it! 

2. Make a Welsh costume, probably styled after late 18th/early 19th century fashions. I have been researching this since the start of the year and have everything I need, including some dark blue wool for the ubiquitous Welsh cloak! I just need to actually start. I have linen laid out for my shift and a pattern printed for a late 18th century lightly boned corset/stays. I just need to start. 

3. Make a European Bronze Age era costume. I've been researching this the past month or so. My interest in the Bronze Age really took off as I listened to YouTube documentaries over the winter and realized, damn, I never learned about this in school. I'm super excited about this one and it's probably one that I will begin sooner rather than later. 

Last week I did take out the tablet weaving cards I made a few years ago and finally took the time to thread them up and begin weaving, using the directions from Earth Guild. For the Bronze Age impression I am going for, tablet weaving in a colored pattern is likely not the most accurate choice. I will finish this piece as a practice piece and am making a backstrap repp weave belt in two shades of grey for my Bronze Age outfit. For later periods, colored tablet woven patterns are accurate. 

4. Make an Iron Age era costume, consisting of a linen underdress or tunic and a wool peplos type of dress. This is something I've planned since making my Druid robes a few years ago knowing that eventually I'd want to make a more historically accurate version. For this outfit, a tablet woven belt will be just fine. This isn't as high on my priority list as the Bronze Age costume but it is so simple it wouldn't take long to make at all. I think for this one I will order some reproduction fibula to pin the shoulders instead of trying to make my own. Etsy has some really beautiful reproduction pins!

Besides that, I want to continue to learn Welsh (have been doing so daily since January!), go on lots of hikes, visit state parks I've not been to yet, play my instruments, cook lots of good food and grow beautiful tomatoes. We aren't have a regular garden this year since Lucy, our dog, wouldn't respect it (lol). So we have 12 tomato plants where she can't mess with them and I hope they do well this year. I also want to go to garage sales and  visit my mom when she is well enough and in a place where I can go see her!

We did go to a Civil War event at the beginning of the month and we had a great time! I was all enthusiastic about 1860's stuff again for a week or two before and after. However, that enthusiasm was very short lived. 😂 It just feels stale to me right now. I know this feeling won't last forever. But I'm way more interested in the projects I listed above. 

I got my second Moderna shot at the end of April and now, more than two weeks out, I am fully vaccinated! I am so thankful for that. In June Ohio is dropping their mask mandates and currently fully vaccinated people can go into stores without having to wear masks. I still feel extremely exposed and weird not wearing one. I generally just automatically put one on. The girls plan to repurpose their old masks from the school year into doll hammocks. 

Much love,