Monday, June 24, 2013

Camp Floyd 2013

Memorial Day Weekend means a few things to me.  One of them is the Civil War encampment at Camp Floyd.
We could only attend on Saturday this year.  I loved it in past years when we camped and spent the entire weekend, but one day is all I could make work this year.
It was a pleasant day, weather and all.  The girls were well behaved and had an enjoyable time.
It was wonderful to chat with some of my reenacting friends that I only get to see a few times a year.
I took the girls through the Stagecoach Inn Museum.  They had not been in there before.  They loved it and of course we talked about how pampered we live now.
The girls and I had a marvelous day together.  I love that we can share good times together doing a unique hobby we all enjoy.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Baptism day

I made Kendal's baptism dress from a bolt of nice pima cotton that once belonged to Matt's grandmother.  The same bolt I used for Kelsey's baptism dress as well.  I decided to go through my grandmother Lela's button jar and found 4 matching white buttons, with the thread from the last project still attached.  I cut the thread off, and sewed them onto the back of Kendal's dress.

I am the sentimental one, so I thought it was sweet that Kendal had a piece of two of her great grandmothers with her when she was baptized.

The service was fantastic and Kendal loved having her special day.  Kelsey played the violin while Kendal and the other two children who got baptized that day sang a song for everyone.  That was my favorite part of the program.  After the service, we had a little lunch BBQ at our house for friends and family that had traveled to attend Kendal's special day.

We had a great afternoon eating together, chatting together, laughing together, and playing together.  I appreciate all the good friends and family we have around us.


 Happy baptism day Kendal!  We love you!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Harriet Ann Jacobs is on my mind

I purchased a bunch of books for Kelsey's Kindle the other day for my sweet voracious reader.  When I do this, I always put some of the free classics on there as well, for me to read.  I downloaded a book called Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself the other day and I have been reading it when I feed Kenna.

It was written by Harriet Ann Jacobs (February 11, 1813 – March 7, 1897) and was published in 1861under the pseudonym Linda Brent.  She escaped from slavery and became an abolitionist speaker and reformer. The book was one of the first autobiographical narratives about the struggle for freedom by female slaves and an account of the sexual harassment and abuse they endured.

There is one portion of the book I read today that made me think about my sweet children.  The background to this quote is that her 5 year old son, 1 year old daughter, and teenage brother are in jail because she ran away and hid in order for her master to sell her kids to a slavetrader she had previously set up to buy them.  Her master had a definate obsession with her, and she felt the only way to get her children out of slavery was for her to run away, therefore infuriating her master into selling her children.  The father to the children was a free man, and the slavetrader had arrangements to buy their two children and then sell them to the free father.

The 19 year old slave woman is hiding in a kind white woman's attic and gets reports from the cook every day.  When she learns her master has put both her children in jail in order to bait her to come back, she struggles with the cook to go to the jail and save her babies.  Betty the cook, who never had children, tells her to stay put and it will all work out.  These are the author's thoughts from page 156:

"Good old soul! She had gone through the world childless. She had never had little ones to clasp their arms round her neck; she had never seen their soft eyes looking into hers; no sweet little voices had called her mother; she had never pressed her own infants to her heart, with the feeling that even in fetters there was something to live for. How could she realize my feelings?"

Kenna has the sweetest habit of putting her arms tight around my neck whenever I hold her in front of a mirror.  Its as if she likes to see the two of us so tightly together.  It makes her smile, me smile, and it makes my heart melt.
I love looking into Kelsey's deep brown eyes and see so much love and compassion and goodness.
I love looking into Kendal's beautiful blue eyes and seeing the mischief and fun that fills her eyes and the love she has for life.
Even though Emmitt is 4 years old, he still loves to be held like a little tiny boy, tight to my chest, and snuggle without trying to get away. 

They are all precious to me, and I can not imagine life without one of them.  There are all kinds of love, but the love of a mother goes so deep.  It is not easy for me to express, but I feel it most ardently and deeply.  I wish I could put my feelings into words, but I am not capable.

So, I just hold them a little closer and a little longer, and thank Heaven they are mine.  I am grateful they are mine, and will not be taken away from me like the children of so many mothers in the ugly past of slavery.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Kendal turned 8

My little Kendal turned 8 years old at the end of May.

My kids only get friend birthday parties when they turn 5, 8, and 12 years old.  
This was Kendal's big year.

She invited some neighborhood friends and a few girls from her class at school for a little party at our house.

She wanted a Hello Kitty party, and since I only spring for a party every 4 years, she also got a sweet Hello Kitty cake as well.

She wanted to play "old fashioned" games, so that is what we did.  
They played Pin the bow on Hello Kitty, Red Rover, and a few other simple and fun games the girls loved.

Kelsey was my great helper in keeping the sweet little ones busy and having fun.

Kendal had a great day and had so much fun with her friends on her special birthday.
I am so happy to have my sweet Kendal girl.  She makes me laugh and makes me remember that childhood is wonderful.  I love my sweet Kendal.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

How I made box pleated self fabric trim for my civil war era day dress

I have wanted to make a plaid civil war dress for awhile now.  I purchased some plaid fabric a few years ago, made the bodice two winters ago, and so I figured it was time to finish the dress.  I went to a class by Elizabeth Stewart Clark this spring and learned that I have been attaching all the skirts I have made to the waistband the hard and hideous way.  So with my new knowledge, I got busy this spring.

When it came time to add the trim, I couldn't decide what I wanted to do.  I found this period image and decided to try for something similar.  It is hard to see, but the gal on the right in the plaid dress is what I based my dress on.  Her bodice has some delicious trim down the front of it, as well as on the sleeves. I also like WHERE the trim on the bodice goes - it makes a pretty 1860s line.

So I ruched about 150 feet of plaid fabric (kidding, but close) and attached it to the bodice like the image shows.  If I zoomed into the image, I could tell that my ruched trim didn't look like her trim.  I decided her trim was sort of box pleated.  I wasn't about to waste all the time I already spent on making and attaching the bodice trim, so I figured I would try to put some box pleated trim on the skirt.

I started by cutting 2 inch wide strips of my dress fabric.  I figured I would need about 3 times the circumference of my dress, which is around 160 inches (4 panel skirt), and so I cut about 500 inches, or 13 1/2 yards of 2 inch strips.  I sewed them all together into one long piece.  Then came the time consuming part, I turned and sewed in a 1/4" hem on each side.  That seemed to take FOREVER!  But it was necessary.  If I made a silk dress, I wouldn't have to do that, but with cotton I had to or it would fray.

I then turned the long strip over and with a ruler and pencil, made marks on the reverse side of the strip.  I made a mark at 1 inch, then 3 inches, then 4 inches, then 6 inches, then 7 inches, then 9 inches, then 10 inches, then at 12 inches using my 1 foot ruler.  So, I had a mark every 1 inch then every 2 inches, over and over and over again for 500 inches!  I am sure there is an easier way, but since this is the first time I made box pleated trim, it is all my poor little brain could figure out.

Then I started sewing.  I lined up the marks that were 2 inches apart, and sewed across the strip.  This left little 1 inch tags poking out.  Because there is no way to make it all fit under my machine, I sewed every other seam, which is what the picture above shows.  Then I ran the strip through again and sewed the ones I missed.  The trim above is still connected with the little piece of thread from chain piecing. 

When I was finished sewing at all the marks I had made on the reverse of the trim, this is what I ended up with.  1 inch tags poking out of a long strip of trim. 

I pinned the trim to the bottom of my skirt.

Then I sewed it on.  To make the box pleats, you have to push down every 1 inch tag poking up, right in the center.  To get real box pleats, you need to make sure each tag is pushed down and centered on the seam you made underneath it, when you made the tags.  See the bottom picture to get my drift.  Also, see the little red spot on my thumbnail?  Yeah, the framing hammer somehow whacked it while finishing the chicken coop.  I suppose I am glad I didn't swing harder!

I just did a nice straight stitch, in the center of the trim, all the way around my skirt.

This is what I ended up with.  It looks very much like the trim on the original image from the civil war time period, but I am still not sure it is the same.  I would LOVE to know how they made their box pleated trim 150 years ago!  If anyone knows, please share it with me!

I got to wear my new dress to an event for Memorial Day at Camp Floyd.  I do love how it turned out, even if the bodice trim is not my first choice - it is on and it looks nice.  I love the trim on the skirt and how the overall dress turned out.  Although I do need to fix a low lying petticoat!

My friend George took this photo, and I think it turned out very nice.  I feel badly I look so floppy and saggy, but I wasn't wearing my corset.  My corset sure makes it difficult to feed my sweet baby Kenna, so I didn't wear it for the day.  It is incredible to feel the difference in my posture, but this picture SHOWS the difference in the normally beautiful and tight bodice silhouette.  I think sweet baby girl will be done with me soon, so then I can return to the corset and nice posture!  But isn't she the cutest little thing in her 1860s clothing? 

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

My sweet sweet chicken coop!

I mentioned here, that back in April during Spring Break and Easter, we headed south and my dad made me a chicken coop.  I have been wanting one for a few years.  I helped a bit, but my dad is incredible, so did it most of it.

My dad brought it up to Heber during the first week of May - he is so incredible, he even delivers!
I was so worried about how in the world we were going to get it off the trailer and to where it needed to be, but my dad was cool as a cucumber, and smart!

We set the three railroad ties it would live on in place, and then used a few pvc pipe as rollers to roll that baby off.  Well, and a come-along to make sure it didn't roll too fast.  I told my dad I felt like an ancient Egyptian slave building the pyramids, huge block by huge block.

This picture was taken the first week of May - my new coop in its new home.

My sweet dad of course built a little pen/run area as well.  I love it, totally love it.

I bought some masonite and with my circular saw, got busy and finished the inside of the coop.  Well, my dad made the roost and the laying boxes, I removed them to finish the walls and then I put them back.  I felt very handy that day with a hear me roar attitude.

My dad added these sweet handles on both doors - so so cool.

This is Emmitt the day we went to go pick up the first 3 chickens.  The kids had so much fun playing in it before the chickens came.  I went out one day to find the laying boxes full of stuffed animal friends.  Silly kids.

These last two photos were taken today.  I have three more chickens, so 6 total, which isn't very many considering the size of the awesome chicken coop, but that is enough for me right now.  I love my new coop, and I love that my dad made it for me.  I love that it looks just at home in our yard and that we can enjoy cleaning up chicken poop and gathering eggs!


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