Posts tagged ‘1860s’

February 16, 2011

Literary Heroines

I heard about this blog party yesterday, and knew I must join in the fun – especially since I am working on growing my “Literary Heroines” doll dress line!

What follows answers the questions posed by our hostess…

The essense of a true heroine is a lady who walks with God. A lady~ one who embraces her femininity openly and has a gentle and quiet sprit. She walks with God~ talking to Him constantly, and humbly following His leading in every situation.

Four literary heroines that I would like to discuss are the March sisters from Little Women. Meg I admire for her ladylikeness. She also strikes me as a good leader, even if her sister Jo doesn’t follow. Jo is too much like myself. While I am not a tomboy like her, I share her passion. I’m learning to use it for good (as Jo did in her writing) and not evil (oh, that horrid incident with Amy!). Beth is gentle and quiet, humbly fulfilling her duty to her household. Amy is a sweet girl underneath her predisposition to fashion and what others think. The trouble is she wants to be liked, which can be a good thing so long as she uses it as motivation to love others with Christ’s love.

My top five historical novels would be The Dove in the Eagles’ Nest by Charlotte M Younge, The Wide Wide World by Susan Warner (who also wrote the song Jesus Loves Me), Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, How They Kept the Faith by Grace Raymond, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

My favorite character out of all of those books would probably be Katherine of Stepping Heavenward. She is veery much like me and I first read the book when I was having a lot of trouble with the same things she did. She offered me hope that things would get better if only I grew closer to God and grew to know Him better.

I’m supposed to talk about a dream vacation now… Hmmm. I would love to go back to Pennsylvania and explore at my own pace. Gettysburg would definitely be on the itinerary, the town, the battlefield and the cemetery. The Lancaster area would be wonderful to visit again too. Leisurely this time!

I love to read about the American Civil War, specifically from authors who lived during that time. Being a reenact or of the period, anything I can glean for my portrayal is an added bonus.

If I were invited to perform at a local charity concert my act would likely be comprised of singing and playing the piano, though perhaps a recitation in historical clothing would do as well.

For my 16th birthday (nearly 3 years ago- my!) I held a literary tea, where all the ladies invited we’re asked to dress as a favorite literary heroine. I was Christina, from the Dove in the Eagles’ Nest.

Chocolate~ sharing it with a friend is always nice. I don’t prefer most varieties, though very dark chocolate is quite tasty.

Elizabeth Prentiss is certainly a favorite author of mine, perhaps even my most favorite (at the moment).

As a small, imaginative, red-haired damsel might query; would you rather be divinely beautiful, dazzlingly clever, or angelically good?
Dazzlingly Clever~ it is perhaps the only one I could ever hope of achieving!

I believe that most of the books I read were written in the 19th century, though some are from the very early decades of the 20th.

In my opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is… Strong in character; loyal to God, his wife and family; humble; tall and handsome;
Oh, that probably isn’t what you were asking for… Let’s see, Master René from How They Kept the Faith matches that description rather well.

My ideal dwelling place would have many books, and room for me to design and sew. I place to write, draw and paint would be nice. It shouldn’t be too big, but large enough to entertain guests.

Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name?  I can’t say that I have!

Javert from Les Mis came to mind first as the most dastardly villain in literature, though perhaps a worse one could be found.

Three of my favorite non-fiction books would be the Bible (that is one amazing masterpiece), The God Who is There by Francis Schaffer is also wonderful and Mimosa by Amy Carmichael is one of the latest biographies that I have read (Ms. Carmichael had a wy with words).

My duties met for the day, I would spend a carefree summer afternoon reading, writing, drawing, painting, or sewing!

My hat would be classic, not overly feminine, though distinctly female. Extra decoration would be minimal and the color must be practical so as to go with any outfit. Sun protection is a must for this pale redhead, and I would like to be able to wear my thick hair up underneath it.

A very significant event that I have experienced this year would be the addition of a sister for just two months. She was a foster child and terribly affected what had happened in the first four years of her life. She attached herself to me, and I was thrust into many mothering duties. The next significant event was her abrupt leave of our home. Everything I had learned about love was reenforced by that loss.

An inspiring Bible passage:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me-practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

And lastly, my views regarding those adorable little items – namely pin back and mirror back buttons.
1). Where would you choose to display a button badge to best showcase your unique style?

Perfect for the handle of my book bag (the one made of dark denim and lined with fabric printed with books!)

2). What image and/or sentiment would most make you smile were it inscribed on your very own compact mirror?

Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…

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September 21, 2010

Tucson barn Dance 2010

I wasn’t supposed to go to this year’s barn dance, but I ended up being able to attend the first hour and a half with the rest of my family (except the boys, who are too young).  I’ve attended every year and Colonel Scott convinced me to keep up my perfect attendance score 😉  I’m certainly glad I did!

Moriah wore the dress I wore to last year’s Barn Dance and I wore my newest outfit.  It was very comfortable to dance in.  The armholes are a bit tight, but I do have full range of motion, without fear of ripping out the seam!

Moriah helped with my hair (the curls really had minds of their own!)

These two were the cutest couple there.  The young gentleman was dressed as a union soldier (the only young man to dress historically, I believe).

Here you can see the front of his outfit.

I taught daddy to waltz…

Bethany and her “twin”  😉  These three (as well as the middle one’s older sister) really connected that night–even before they found out that we’d be staying with them for the American Heritage Festival!  (We’re glad they get along)

I was asked about the pineapple… It’s for the pinapple dance, of course! 😉
In the pinapple dance there are three chairs, as you can see. Three people sit down in them and the rest line up forming “long lines” (for those of you who know dance terminology), but not necessarily couples. When the music starts, the person in the center, holding the pineapple, hands it to one of the people on either side and sasheés down the center with the other. The person who now has the pineapple now moves to the center, taking their places at the ends of the lines. Two new people from the lines take the empty seats. Say, for example, a young man has the pineapple and there is a young lady to his left and another man to his right. He, of course, hands the pineapple to the man and takes the lady down the center. This goes on and on, but like musical chairs, when the music finally stops, the person left with the pineapple keeps it!

Rumor has it that the pineapple dance was designed so that the host could provide an exotic party favor without having to buy one for every guest.

February 28, 2010

Civil War Reenacting in Arizona!

After seeing all of my family’s outfits from the 1860s, you may be wondering where we wear all these things. We are very fortunate to have an incredible reenacting group in Arizona and there are some great Civil War events being put on by We Make History (WMH) in the coming months! (all ‘block quotes’ are taken directly from the WMH website and its sister sites)

March 13th Mayer, Arizona
The Battle of Poland Junction
An exciting day of Civil War living history for our friends in Yavapai County and beyond.

March 27th Mesa, Arizona
The Civil War Ball
Our 10th annual!

April 10th Payson, Arizona
The Battle of Payson
High drama and excitement as Payson is caught at the center of the Civil War!

Both the Poland Junction event and the Payson event are presented FREE OF CHARGE to reenactor and spectator alike! Passes for the ball cost $25 for adults and $20 for under age 21 if you reserve them before March 22

Payson is an absolutely phenomenal event (and did I mention free?). I attended last year and it was well worth the extra preparation and travel.

“What if PAYSON had been at the Crossroads of the Grand Drama of the American Civil War?”

The 1st Minnesota camped over a hill out of sight of the “town of Payson” which was occupied by the 1st Virginia. Early in the day the 1st Minnesota invaded and captured the town, sending the Confederates who were not dead or captured over the hill. Later in the day the 1st Virginia rallied and recaptured the town, but not without loss of life.

As for the Civilians, our mayor strove to keep the peace, refusing to give in to either side. The women and children tried to live life normally, sewing, reading, discussing fashions and hairstyles, playing ‘graces’ and eating their meals. During battles, they sought protection inside houses, or huddled together in alleys. No one was hurt, thanks to the careful adults and obedient children.

We “put the acting back into reenacting”.

Some very fun pictures of the event last year can be found here

This event is somewhat scripted, with little things happening in different areas. One of these included a young confederate with a flag, her aunt with a pistol and a very unhappy group of Yankees.

I have been a part of We Make History for 3 years. Mr. Scott Hinkle, who heads up WMH, is a christian and homeschool father of three girls. many of the participants are also christians and homeschoolers.

We Make History is an educational enterprise devoted to bringing history to life in the context of a creative, interactive, inspirational and family friendly environment

I am a member of the 1st Virginia Infantry, the Confederate branch of WMH’s American Civil War reenacting group. Recently, they have added the 1st Minnesota (Union) as well as the 2nd Virginia (Confederate) infantries. There are both civilians and soldiers in each group. I have been studying the mid-1860s in depth for 4 years, particularly my ancestors’ part in it (they were confederate), the fashions of the era and life in the South. Don’t feel like you have to know a lot to join, though! Much of what I have learned I have picked up “on the field” and many participants know very little about the era when they join WMH.

Joining does involve a commitment to…a gradual process of gaining the ability to dress, portray and experience the times…

For more information about joining see this page of WMH’s site.

No costume? No problem!

We do have our own stock of uniforms, equipment and accoutrements which allows us to train and involve a number of ‘new recruits’ at any given time.

Also keep in mind that I can draft a custom pattern for a woman or child, just as would have been done in that era. Then I, or another seamstress could use it to create a customized outfit. See what I’ve sewn from this era in the past in my portfolio

If you aren’t interested in being a part of the action, please consider coming as a spectator. Watching history unfold before your eyes has so much more of an impact than reading a textbook!

February 27, 2010

Little Women week~Playing Pilgrims

It used to be so simple.

When we were young and used to play pilgrims, the journey was only as difficult as a trek from the cellar through the house up to the rooftop. The burdens were only as heavy as the bits of fabric filling them and Appolyon was just the neighbor’s dog. It was easy to let our burdens tumble down the stairs when we came to the cross and to face our worst enemy from an upstairs window. When we reached the rooftop the flowers and arbors and pretty things that awaited us were fine rewards for our efforts.

Our burdens are no longer made up of bits of fabric but they are just as real and even more crushing. They are made up of the cares of this world and its sinful desires. These burdens may be of a different sort, but the way to be free of them is the same. We must take them to the cross, kneel at Jesus’ feet and allow him to loosen their grip on our shoulders. Then we may watch them tumble far away into the bottomless abyss, never to be retrieved.

Our worst enemy is no longer the dog, but our fears. Rejection? Failure? However, we still face them from an upstairs window for “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”!

God lays out the path we are to take in our guidebook so simply. Just as simply as it was when we were young and tramped through our own house. But simple rarely means easy. When the journey gets hard, remember the wonderful truth that our reward is far greater than “flowers and arbors and pretty things”. “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for GREAT is your reward in heaven”!

Inspired by this passage in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott which follows the reading of Father’s letter:

Mrs. March broke the silence…by saying in her cheery voice, “Do you remember how you used to play Pilgrim’s Progress when you were little things? Nothing delighted you more than to have me tie my piece-bags on your backs for burdens, give you hats and sticks and rolls of paper, and let you travel through the house from the cellar, which was the City of Destruction, up, up, to the housetop where you had all the lovely things you could collect to make a Celestial City.”
“What fun it was, especially going by the lions, fighting Apollyon, and passing though the valley where the hobgoblins were!” said Jo.
“I liked the place where the bundles fell off and tumbled downstairs,” said Meg.
“My favorite part was when we came out on the flat roof where our flowers and arbors and pretty things were, and all stood and sang for joy up there in the sunshine,” said Beth, smiling as if that pleasant moment had come back to her.
“I don’t remember much about it, except that I was afraid of the cellar and the dark entry and always liked the cake and milk we had at the top. If I wasn’t too old for such things, I’d rather like to play it over again,” said Amy…
“We never are too old for this, my dear, because it is a play we are playing all the time in one way or another. Ou burdens are here and our road is before us and the longing for goodness and happiness is the guide that leads us through many troubles and mistakes to the peace that is the true Celestial City….”

February 27, 2010

Little Women week~paper dolls!

I designed these paper dolls in the style of the fashion plates of the 1860s. My goal is to make them available for sale in the near future! The original paperdolls are simply outlines, as they are in the images above. I’ve colored them and “dressed” the dolls below to give you an idea of how they would look.

Because Meg is 17 years old and work outside of her home caring for the children of a wealthy family, she dresses in adult styles. She likes to follow fashions, but understands how to do so practically, with limited means.
This dress is inspried by one that Meg wears in the 1994 movie of Little Women. it is adult-length, nearly touching the floor. The full skirt is box-pleated to the waistband. The buttons in the front are likely decorative–would you want to make so many buttonholes by hand? There are likely hooks and eyes closing the front opening.
The bodice is gathered to fit, as is typical of cotton work dresses, but the trimming and tucks dress it up a bit. The sleeves are curved coat sleeves with as exaggerated elbow as fashion dictated.
She wears her hair up in adult styles. Her small shoes are fashionable two-color , side-lacing boots with a low heel.

Like Meg, Jo works outside the home helping out her Aunt Josephine and keeping her company. At 16-years-old she is old enough to begin wearing her hair up, but she threatens to “wear it in two tails ’til she’s twenty!” if wearing it up means that she must act like a lady. Fortunately, as she matures she finds that being a lady isn’t as bad as she thought.
Her dress is made of very lightweight sheer fabric, so even though it has long sleeves, it is cool to wear in the summer. The full sleeves and bodice make the most of the the sheer fabric’s qualities. Jo sometimes wears a sash of a different color to add interest to the dress. She wears her sturdy balmoral boots whenever she leaves the house.

Beth is 14 years old and generally not in the best of health. She tries to do her part in the family and carries some of the load of housework that her older sisters leave to her, since they don’t spend a lot of time at home. She doesn’t bother to wear a hoopskirt in the house–it would just get in the way. Instead she wears multiple petticoats to get the full-skirted look which is so popular.
Beth wears dresses in this style almost every day. Details like sleeves are different to add interest, but all of them close in the back and have a skirt hem that is about mid-calf length. This summer dress has short puffed sleeves and the bodice is gathered to fit. The skirt is gauged to fit the waist with tiny pleats.
Generally she wears her hair braided to keep it out of the way and she wears houseshoes or just stockings on her feet.

At just 12 years old, Amy is still a child even though she may try to act older. Her skirts are shorter due to her age. Her dress is a hand-me-down from her cousin so to add her own personal touch, she likes to tie a ribbon sash around her waist when she wears it. It is made of lightweight fabric with an open neckline and short, open sleeves, so it is very cool to wear. It closes in the back and the front bodice features a yoke with pleats. The skirt is also pleated.
Since Amy can’t wear her hair up like a grown woman, she wears it in natural ringlets. Her small boots are colored leather to satisfy her fashion taste, but still sturdy because she is a child, afterall.