Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sarah, a new dress in her honor, and the Spirit of Elijah

I am completely sucked in - submerged I think.  As if I needed an excuse to make another dress, I came up with one anyway!  
All summer and fall I told myself that I was going to spend all winter doing family history.  A few times in the summer I would come across a great story of one of my ancestors and I would think "I will dig deep into that this winter."  Well, I have been so busy with Christmas and now that the holiday hub-bub is over - I am going to dig. 
The picture above is of an English ballgown in 1820.  I love it.  I love the era, and since I just joined the Utah Chapter of the Jane Austen Society, I felt a need to connect myself to the time period in England.

That is where this sweet gal comes into the picture.  She is my great great great great grandmother on my mother's side.  Her name is Sarah Thornton Coleman and she was born in 1806 at Little Paxton, Huntingtonshire, England.  She was married in 1826.
So, if I needed an excuse to make a Regency style dress, I have one now.  You see, it is a family history project.  I am going to make a dress similar to what Sarah Thornton Coleman would have worn.  Ohhhhhh!  I am so excited!

I found this linen-ish fabric and bought 6 yards of it.  I washed it and dried it in the dryer.  I have learned my lesson with this issue and have shrunk a dress and made it useless to me!  Lesson learned!  Any shrinkage needs to happen BEFORE the dress is constructed!

I found a Regency dress pattern that dates from 1795-1825.  It is a common and well used pattern for those making dresses for Jane Austen events - Simplicity 4055.  I made a pattern copy onto heavier and more sturdy pattern paper, and got busy!

I found the following information from a long lost cousin at

Sarah Thornton Coleman, daughter of William Thornton and Elizabeth Christian, was born June 11, 1806 at Little Paxton, Huntingtonshire, England.  She and her older sister, Jane, were left motherless at the age of ten and eleven, as their mother died August 23, 1816.  The father placed the two girls in a boarding school, and afterward married again.  Rules and regulations of the school were so strict that the students had no childhood or girlhood pleasures.  Whipping was not allowed but some of the punishments were going without food, undressing and going to bed in the daytime, separation from classmates, etc.  The most cruel punishment was that given the children when found sleeping with the knees drawn up.  They were expected to recline in bed perfectly straight and should they draw their knees up in their sleep; the teachers and nurses roughly jerked the legs down suddenly waking the child.

This is a pretty easy pattern compared to civil war dresses I have made in the past.  Here is the skirt and its lining, ready to attach to the bodice today.  The gathering in the back is really pretty, I should have taken a picture of the back of the skirt!

Sarah Thornton decided, then and there that should she ever have children they should never acquire their education at a boarding school.  However, she remained at this school about ten years, when she met and after a courtship of six weeks, married Prime Coleman, son of George Coleman and Elizabeth Prime, born 1804 at Arlesey, Bedfordshire, England.

The bodice back - I love the shape of the side/back seams!  I love the gathering on the sleeves - it is only gathered in the back, not the front.

 The young man’s Father told him that he was making the mistake of his life by marrying a girl who had spent her life at school, and could not be a helpmate to a cattle man and a farmer.  But as the old saying is – “love goes where love is sent”—the young man decided he knew best, and so Prime Coleman and Sarah Thornton were married August 1826.

The front of the bodice.  I haven't added the drawstring to the neckline yet.  This picture shows the bodice ready to be attached to the skirt.  I chose to chop of the sleeve length.  This is going to be a day dress rather than an evening ballgown, so I wanted the sleeve to be mid-length and more comfortable for warm or cooler weather.  I checked it out - they did have half sleeve lengths.

They owned and lived on a large, well-equipped farm at Thorncot, Bedsford, England.  The house was a large two-story one splendidly furnished.  Here seven children were born to them –George, Sarah, Prime Thornton, Ann Elizabeth, William, and Rebecca; and later one more in Nauvoo, Illinois, USA named Martha Jane.  There was always plenty of hired help in the house and on the farm, so the mother’s only work was to look after her children and manage the household affairs.  It took only a few years to convert the father-in-law that he was mistaken in his opinion as to what an educated girl could and could not do, for then Mr. Coleman finally acknowledged to his son and daughter-in-law that she had made a wonderful wife and mother.

This image is from 1825 and once again is of ball gowns.  My goodness they are lovely!
I must admit, I did get the bodice and skirt sewn together this evening while dinner was in the oven.  I had to quickly throw it on without buttons nor drawstring, right over my modern clothing and I have to say - it was lovely.  I felt like I should have been walking the green fields of Pemberly instead of steaming veggies and drizzling icing on the warm cinnamon rolls.  Pictures of the finished dress will be coming after the new year!

On January 16th, 1843, they set sail from Liverpool, the company numbering 212 souls.  After sailing for seven weeks and three days, they arrived at New Orleans, Louisiana, and were transferred to the ship “Amarauth” in which they sailed up the Mississippi River to St. Louis.  There they were transferred from the steamer to a barge, and here they had to stay two weeks waiting for the ice to break.  About the 7th or 8th of April; a small steamer fastened a cable to the barge and chugged it up the river to Nauvoo, Illinois, where they landed April 12, 1843, three months and twelve days after leaving their home at Thorncot, England.  Choice feather beds and other valuable baggage had been left behind, or thrown overboard enroute, to decrease the weight of the ship, as the journey was a long tedious one.  Sarah Thornton Coleman and her seven children, three sons and four daughters, came with the Evans family and remained to help build up what is now Lehi City, Utah.  

I have felt the spirit of Elijah since I learned this little story of Sarah Thornton Coleman a few months ago.  When I climb into my bed at night, and curl up in a ball or spread out on my stomach, and just snuggle into my bed, my heart is turned to HER, and I think about HER and her experiences as a young girl in an English boarding school. How she couldn't curl up on her side and sleep nice and cozy as I do.  I think of the sacrifices she made to come to America, the children and husband she lost to typhoid, the hardships I will never know.  My heart is turned to her and I think of her as SOMEONE, not just a name and a date.

Malachi 4: 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the
coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the
heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I can't take a hint

My Kenna turned 6 months old on Christmas Day.  WOW!  Has the time just flown by!
 She is such a sweet little baby and I tell everyone that she is the most mellow babe on the planet.  Well, recently she thinks she is big stuff - getting on all fours and just a rocking!

Santa thinks she is a big gal too, because he brought her rice cereal for Christmas!
All my other children were eating all their veggies and fruits like crazy by the time they were 6 months old.
I have just been lazy with Kenna.  Real food is such a mess, and look at those thighs and cheeks - Creme ala Rachel has been good to her so far!

Anyway, I got out the rice cereal Santa graciously brought yesterday and gave it a whirl.  First bite - not impressed.  Second bite - which was really the first bite, just reinserted - gagging and spitting out again.  Third bite - a fresh spoonful once again rejected.

Fourth bite, just because I can't take a hint - more gagging and ultimately all of her stomach contents running down her bib and thighs and into the bumbo chair.  Yeah, we will try again another day!

But my little Kenna is an angel.  I love her so much.  Her giggles make me smile and I can't help but find joy in everything about her - even going through 3 sets of clothing EVERY DAY!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We have all enjoyed each other for the past few days.  The kids have been so great.  I have given them lots of jobs to accomplish and they have done them well.  They have of course been playing their little hearts out and enjoying their new toys and other gifts too.  It has been so fun having Matt home as well, since that doesn't happen very often. I am so grateful for these four crazy kids that call me "mom."  They are the joy of my life. I can't wait to see what great and silly times we have coming in the next week!  

Monday, December 24, 2012

My little donkey and beautiful angels

Our church ward family had a super fun Christmas party 10 days ago.  It was a good time.  We didn't stick with tradition, and went with a pasta bar this year with breadsticks, brownies, and ice cream.  Santa couldn't make it, and it was just fine with my kids because they were able to be a part of the Nativity story along with the rest of the Primary age kids.

It was so cute when Mary and Joseph came out and walked across the stage, followed by Emmitt the donkey.  The congregation (all the parents and teenagers) giggled because Emmitt was so tickled to be there!

 Kelsey and Kendal were angels, along with the rest of the girls.

After the Nativity Story was retold and reenacted from the Bible, all the kids sang us a few Christmas songs and carols.  They were so cute and so so great.
My kids loved participating in the historic story of the birth of our Savior.  They were so pleased to be able to share their love of Christmas and of the baby Jesus with their friends by song and acting.  We have truly enjoyed the true meaning and reason for Christmas this year.
It's has been a wonderful way for their love of the Savior to grow.

 Merry Christmas to all.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fort Douglas Christmas Party 2012

We had our annual Christmas Party at Fort Douglas Military Museum on Friday evening.  It was a wonderful time.  Everyone that serves as a living historian for Fort Douglas was invited to attend, so we had folks in every kind and era of clothing.  We were most honored and pleased to have our dinner attended by Napoleon Bonaparte along with World War II heroes, American Civil War folks, Revolutionary War Loyalists, and many more.

I left the middle two children home with their dad and brought Kelsey and Kenna along with me.  They were wonderful of course.

We played some wonderful time period parlor games and had a blast.  Kimberli and her husband, who normally calls our dances for us, were the ones that provided the fun games.  There were a handful of kids there and they really enjoyed the games too.

My dear friend Amanda and her sweet Lydia.

Many of the games required us to change seats with others, and let me tell you, that is a might bit difficult with a hoop skirt and carrying a baby!  I usually just moved to the seat just next to my old seat!  There was a little blood spilled when the fellas got rough, but they were wonderfully pure gentlemen to the ladies!

This game was called 'The Huntsman' and it was really fun.  I love Kimberli's skirt in this one!

I love this cheesy one of my sweet friend Caleb and little Kenna.  When she gets that look on her face, she wants to nuzzle you and squeal with delight!

My friend Sarah and her daughter Hannah came to the Christmas Party as their first civil war event.  They loved it and had a great time.  At least she said they did.  So this picture is of me and my 2 daughters, Amanda and her 3 children, Sarah and Hannah, and one of Kelsey and Hannah's friends, Bekah.  We all live on the same street and within 4 blocks of each other. 

I asked Kelsey to take a picture of me in my new bodice I have been working on this month.  This is what happened - me saying "Just one minute!"  It was captured for all of posterity to witness.  It is the only picture I had her take, so it will have to do!  I liked making this bodice.  It went together pretty easily and quickly.  The chemisette underneath actually took awhile, and I already had the undersleeves.  It gives me another dressier option from my usual day dresses.

Kenna was the belle of the night and was so so so good.  She is the most well mannered baby!

Kenna got to wear the new dress I made for her as well.  It will be dubbed 'the civil war Christmas dress' from now on I think.  She wore it and the antique bonnet to church today and was so darn cute!
We had a splendid evening with some wonderful people.
There was a large group photo taken, and I hope to come across it soon!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Kendal with a camera

 Kendal had my camera the other day.  I just deleted 39 pictures off of it thanks to that sweet gal.  Here are a few from my 7 year old's eyes!

 Kendal got this cute little hat at school on the last day before the break.  She thought is was the cutest thing and wanted to take a picture of Kenna wearing it - that is what started the camera escapade!

 I was whipping up a batch of cornbread for dinner to go with our spaghetti.  When I was in school and ate school lunch, we always had cornbread with the spaghetti.  My Grandma Elaine was a lunch lady at all three schools I attended.  I just got to thinking about that - I wonder if she moved from the elementary school, to the middle school, to the high school with me and my cousin Amber on purpose or not!  Anyway, she is an excellent cook and whenever we eat spaghetti and cornbread I think of her.  

 Kendal showing off her sweet camera skills on Kenna and a few decorations.  
Love that 7 year old of mine!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

 We got our tree in on Sunday the 16th.  I am usually a December 10th kind of gal, but I was so fine waiting another week for the tree to come into our home.  I have a little too much of my mother in me - I hate the mess of the tree so that is why I wait so long to get it in.  That is what I always tell myself anyway.  But I have to admit that I had other motives this year.  
Christmas this year has been focused on the birth of Jesus at our home.  Our house has been decorated in every other way since December 2nd - lights galore, nativities, gingerbread houses, wreaths, garlands, a whole bunch of Christmas and snowmen do-das.  Just not the tree.  Its funny.  My kids haven't really talked about what they want or what they are getting for Christmas this year unless someone outside our home asks them.  We haven't focused on gifts and presents this year and I think NOT having the tree in helped with that.

 We have talked alot about what to do to be a better member of our family, how we can help others, and even some "Santa is watching you" stories.  But not alot of selfish, "what I want", kind of talk.  It has been nice.  REALLY nice! 
We did have a great night decorating the tree, and I have been busy for the past few nights wrapping presents to put under that tree.  Christmas is such a fun time for everyone, especially my sweet kids.  I can't wait for them to open the presents Matt and I have picked out for them.  To see their happy faces and to be excited not only for what they receive, but to be excited for what their siblings receive as well.

 On a different note - 
I got the buttonholes made and buttons sewn onto my new bodice for our civil war Christmas Party this weekend.  Now just to do the buttons for the white chemisette that goes under it!  
By the way, when a woman wears a hat either in summer or winter, what it really means is

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Another year has gone by

17 years ago I married the most handsome farm boy I had ever met.  I fell in love with his goodness, his smarts, his fore arms, and his plans for the future.

Today I still love him for his goodness to both me and our children, his smarts that provide for our family, his scarred up fore arms, and I love him for letting me be his future and for him making my future look so good.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...