Festival du Voyager

Every year my city hosts the Festival du Voyager which celebrates the beginnings of our province and city.  The fur trade was big in Europe with the demand for furs, especially beaver, being quite high.  Traders and trappers moved into the interior of Canada looking for more game.  This lead initially to the exploration of the interior and finally the settling and building of railways into the interior.  Before the railways, goods were brought up and down the river by Voyagers in birch bark canoes.  It was a brutal life that saw many of them dead by their 30s.  But, they were known to be cheerful hard workers who sang as they worked.

The Festival is held at our Fort Gibraltar which is a recreation of an actual fort that predates our original Fort Garry by about 40 years.  There are interpreters that lead guests through the fort and they are in costume.  I don’t drool over them as they are earlier than my tastes and they are very rustic and practical.  I think this Victorian is a lady of quality at heart!  Besides touring the fort, people can hear music, have a drink, or some food, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, shop for useless nick-nacks and view the snow sculptures.

The sculptures are amazingly beautiful but this year we had a small problem…a lack of snow.  This meant they had to buy man-made snow!  If you know how much snow we get in a normal year you’d laugh at the idea of needing to buy it!  The buying of snow meant a definite decrease in the number of them but they were still quite lovely.  Now this is where I should be showering you with all the photos I took.  That would be great if I remembered to put my memory card into my camera!  With no card my camera would take one photo.  That is it.

A snow sculpture of voyagers shooting rapids in their canoe.

 You don’t see it too much in this sculpture but some of them were starting to melt.  Really weird winter.

I did take photos in the summer of the fort and if I have a dry spell in blog ideas I will share them. 

In 12 hours I will be in the air heading to Victoria.  Barring any disasters (ie lack of internet service for my computer) I will post some photos of the ferry ride.  It really is lovely country.  I may not be posting in a timely fashion as I probably should spend some time visiting my mother (who I haven’t seen in 4 months) before I demand computer time 😉  Until then…

Done work…

I’m done work and now it is time for travel prep!  I’ve got 36 hours to sleep, pack, get the house, kids and dog ready for me to be away for a week.  Busy, busy time but soon I will look like this!

(This little 1895 drawing is the inspiration for a dress I have on the back burners right now.)

St Boniface Museum

Last summer I played the tourist in my own city and went to several museums that I hadn’t been to in years or hadn’t actually heard of until I did an internet search on local museums.  The St Boniface Museum was one I hadn’t been to in over 20 years.  It was constructed for French-speaking nuns who had moved into the area to do God’s work.

English description is on the bottom half of the photo

 Photo of the exterior the plaque says is an excellent example of early Red River frame construction.

I like the green shutters.

 Being a museum about Catholic nuns it features a few of the habits worn over the years.







You may recall the post I did on Louis Riel.  He was a leader of the Metis Peoples (people who were half European and half Aboriginal).  He was executed in Regina Saskatchewan and his body was put in a simple pine box to be shipped home.  Once home his body was put in a nicer box and the family used the “shipping” box to store papers in (a bit icky IMHO).  Later the family donated the box to a historical society that had its displays in the basement of a prominent Catholic church   That church burnt down (the burning of that church is now considered a historical event that is very prominent in the memories of the older folks who lived then.  I was 4 at the time and don’t remember it.) and the Riel casket was damaged.  That transport casket is now on display at the St Boniface Museum.

A bit morbid.

 The museum has a collection of items that come from Catholic Churches and they have them on display.

 The museum also shows items that represent the French folks that settled in that area and there was some sweet little items that I covet.

My Grandmother had a piano stool exactly like that one. I think my Dad has it now.

Or how about this….

Love it!

 Not too much in the way of historical women’s fashions.






They also had several items that dealt with the making of cloth.

Carding bench with cards.

Spinning wheel

A reel for putting the wool into skeins.

And the next step….

A vertical warp for organizing threads before putting them on a loom.

 And finally….

And of course a loom

Just a quick note.

I’m getting ready for my vacation, working and trying to keep up with the rest of my life so tonight it is just going to be a quick one so that you don’t wander off and find someone new to follow 😉

I just want to share another of my flea market finds.  It is a postcard with no names, post dates or addresses on it so all I have to go on is the clothing the people are wearing.

Don't these two look like honeymooners....

I decided to buy this card because I loved the hat!  Her outfit is definitely Edwardian which is not my favorite but I do love the hat.  Till tomorrow gang.

Valentine’s silliness

At work we had a Red Party for Valentines.  We had trivia on the color red and Valentines.  There was red juice and red velvet cake served at a table decorated all in red and music with the word red in the title.  My lovely seniors seemed to enjoy the event.  Of course one must wear a costume for such an event and the sillier the better.  

Note the little red facinator I included in my ensemble.

 I also had a huge strip of red shiny fabric I tied around my waist like a skirt and some red shoes that turned my feet completely black!  I’m not sure if you can see the red eye lashes that I glued on that hindered my vision but I know you can’t miss my hooker red lipstick!

Time for another flea market photo

I didn’t have as much luck finding information about this photo so there is going to be some serious amateur guessing for this next one.

Don't you just love her dress? I wish I could see the back!

 First things first: I looked at the dress and hair and tried to figure the date out by that.  I looked at my collection of photos and decided that based on the shape of the dress it would be between late 1870s and early 1890s.  Then I decided that if I wanted to make this dress I would look through Truly Victorians patterns to see if I could copy it. 

I started looking in the 1860s patterns and of course found nothing.  When I moved on to the 70s Truly Victorian had 3 potential matches.  The 1877 two-tone bodice, the 1878 overskirt and the 1877 tie back under skirt.  Then I looked at the hair and I found references to there being bangs, and a high knot in the late 70s.  So I was ready to say this was an 1870s photo.

To be sure, I looked at Truly Victorians 1880s fashions.  The 1884 French bodice and the 1885 pannier panel add-on looked a lot like this dress too.  So I looked at the hair for the 80s and bangs and knots at the top were common in the mid to late 80s.  So looking at the dress I’m guessing 1875-85.  I felt so strongly about this range that I did not go on to the 90s.  It no longer seemed right to think I was even early 90s.

I really wanted to narrow things down some so I tried to find the photographer in Brantford Ontario and find out when he/she was working.  No luck on that front.  So then I looked at what the different dates of cabinet cards featured.  The deciding factor for me was the photographers name.  One web site I found wrote “1880s on… Large, ornate text for photographer name and address, especially in cursive style. Studio name often takes up the entire back of the card.”  This is true for my card.  There is the large cursive writing on the front and a studio name stamp covering almost the entire back of the card.  So with that and the styles I am guessing this card to be around 1885.

How is that for amateur detective work?  But, I didn’t just buy the card (for $3) because I wanted to put a date on it.  I bought it because I like the dress.  I really wish I could see the back and the colors because I can see myself making this.  I wonder how much of a bustle there is.  There is a bit of a poof near the hand that is behind her back….sigh.

Sharing a link

If you want to learn more about sewing vintage clothing for modern wear you should check out 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World.  Steph is an excellent seamstress and she has some patterns and a consulting business on the side.  As an added draw she has a prize up for grabs…a vintage pattern that she has up dated for modern sewers AND 1.7 meters of blue merino fabric to make it up in!  You have until next Saturday to comment on her blog to enter the draw.

Bloomers done.

Whipped up my split bloomers today.  Didn’t take long at all.

gratuitous puppy shot

I wanted a pose for the back that would demo the split in the drawers but my photographer nearly ran from the room screaming so you will have to take my word for it.  (I don’t know why he was so freaked…I am wearing jeans under thar!)

No fair peeking...

That puts me a week ahead of schedule (which is good as I will lose a week of sewing due to travel).  If I get my skirt cut out tomorrow I will be 2 weeks ahead (which is good as I likely will get bogged down when I get to the bodice.  Dang bodices have yet to get together easily for me.) 


“Antique” photos?

I don’t know if you remember in the 80s there was a trend with booths where you could dress up in “old-fashioned” clothes and get your picture done.  I remember wanting one so bad and being both intrigued and annoyed that the outfits basically tied on like a hospital gown.  I think the first one I had done was with my brother.

Don't you just love that hat!

 I had the last one done with my grandmother.  She was like a little girl with the purple dress she put on.  And I liked mine because it was shiney…I’m still that way!

Look how skinny I was....

That photo makes me a little sad that Grandma is gone and can’t share in my costume making.  She would have gotten a kick out of it.

Back to work on the bloomers tomorrow.  Hopefully, in two days I will have them done and ready to post photos of.

Know what?

Know what?  I hate winter.  A typical winter in my neck of the woods can literally last 6 months.  And several of those months have weather where body parts can freeze in a matter of minutes.  We can have snow up to our hips.  The snow plows take the snow off the road and pile it on the side so high that when you try to cross another road you are half way across before you can see if it safe to do so.  And just when you think you are going to go absolutely mad with cabin fever, someone from BC sends you photos of the cherry trees in full bloom or someone comes home from Cuba so tanned they look like shoe leather.

I really can’t say that this has been a bad winter because it hasn’t.  In fact I can not recall one single winter that has been like this one.  There is snow on the ground but you can still see patches of grass…granted it is brown but it is there.  There has only been one week where I had to plug my car in.  (For those of you who are not familiar with this practice, I’ll explain.  We have what is called block heaters built into our car motor area that when plugged in, keep the motor from freezing solid and being unable to start.  It is basically an electric blanket for parked cars.  If you fail to do this, the car makes a noise that distinctly sounds like it is telling you to do something physically impossible and it stays exactly where it is until you jump start it.  Jump starting is the equivalent of one car giving another car defibrillation.)

Anyway, I digress.  I hate winter even if this one has not been a bad one.  In spite of that I’m finding that I am getting a case of the winter blues.  Likely it has been brought about by the idea that I will get a break from it in a couple of weeks and that has made me long for spring more than I normally would at this time.  That being said, there is one thing I like about winter and that is hoar-frost. 

The view from the park near my house.

 It is pretty…not as pretty as green leaves but it is pretty none the less.