What to wear, what to wear…

I have an event this weekend…a Victorian High Tea.  At first I thought of wearing my 1840’s Copper Penny Dress because it is very Dickens.SAM_1559 (2)

But, Shirley pointed out that it is a Victorian High Tea for Christmas and not a Dickens High Tea for Christmas.

I could wear my 1873 Polonaise because Shirley is going 1870’s….


I could wear my 1850’s tea gown to the tea event…SAM_1356

Gads, no!  It is not fit for human consumption.  Unless you are talking about the illness consumption…in which case one would not care what one looked like.  Thankfully, this photo is very “cell phone camera” blurry!

I could wear my 1880’s Half Grand Surprise Dress as it is a nice Christmas red.


I could wear my 1895 Dinner gown as I haven’t worn it in ages.SAM_0238

Actually, I don’t think I have worn it in public since I have finished the cape and the muff.  Might be a bit over the top for an afternoon tea but what the heck…. Okay, decision made.

Even if I do look like a linebacker in it…

The cape over the sleeves brings to mind a football player standing on the side lines.

The cape over the sleeves brings to mind a football player standing on the side lines.

Tree is up and only a bit of swearing

I try to get my Christmas tree up before I have to take part in putting up 7 trees at work.  I was a bit late this year.  I’ve already put up the mitten donation tree and we stood the 18 footer last week.

As per usual, my dang tree is an emotional roller coaster.  The Christmas music I play makes me cheery.  The fricken fracken bleapen lights make me cranky.  And the ornaments make me sentimental. (Accent on the “mental” part.)

Every year I buy an ornament or two to represent a significant event in the past year.  This year I bought an ornament from my winter vacation earlier in the year and I bought an ornament to represent my first Christmas in 22 years where all my children are not with me for Christmas.  My older boy went to Australia for 5 months.  I bought a “so ugly it is cute” Momma Kangaroo with a baby kangaroo.

Hung it on the tree and cried.

Hung it on the tree and cried.

Yup, ’tis the season.

I’m freezing to death!

It is only November and winter is here like the jerk that it is.  I’ve spent nearly half of my Saturday on line trying to find myself some sort of warm vacation to look forward to.  I need to get me some more pesos!

Well, this is a Victorian/costuming blog  and not a “poor poor pitiful me blog” so topic change!

Does this lovely 1860's carte de visite warm you up?

Does this lovely 1860’s carte de visite warm you up?

No?  Me neither.

She does have a great skirt…it looks like it is put together the same way I put my hoop skirt petticoat.  She has a watch hanging at her waist…it looks like it has be tucked into a belt.  I love her curls!  How does one get those to stay put without hair spray!

I was in the Santa Claus Parade

Shirley and I had the opportunity to be a Dickens flavor in a horse and carriage float for the Santa Claus Parade yesterday.  I don’t have many photos to share at this moment but I will share what I do have.

Holly and Bunny who pulled the hay wagon.

Holly and Bunny who pulled the hay wagon.

Shirley in her 1850's outfit.  We had to do a lot of just "hanging around" while the horses were fixed up.

Shirley in her 1850’s outfit. We had to do a lot of just “hanging around” while the horses were fixed up.

Gunner and Ace who pulled the carriage for Shirley and I.  Yes, there is 2 horses...count the feet.

Gunner and Ace who pulled the carriage for Shirley and I. Yes, there is 2 horses…count the feet.

Shirley having a bit of a snack before we take off.

Shirley having a bit of a snack before we take off.

Hopefully, I will have more photos later on.  In the mean time, I’m going to take a warm bath and try to relax my tired arms (lots of waving).


Wee Willy

As you may recall, I once bought a few pages that had been torn out of an album for carte de visites (and we all cringed in horror).  I will share one page that had two photos in it.  One side was a young lady and the other a young boy.  I don’t usually buy photos of men and children but I wanted the young lady photo.  SAM_1494This young fella looks to be 4 or 5.

Once I pulled the photos out of the book page, I found the young boy quite interesting.SAM_1496

The above photo shows it out of the page.  Then I flipped the photo over.SAM_1497There is this lovely photographers stamp.  A quick search of the name had me hit this blog post. The post featured another photograph from Ford and according to research done by this blogger, Ford was a photographer in Belleville Ontario from 1879-84. I love it when all my work is done for me!

But, the exciting thing is obviously the name at the bottom.SAM_1498

I googled the name William Vanderwood with the assumption that William was his legal name and Willie was his pet name.  I got a hit on ancestry.ca saying 

William Gilbert Vanderwood Born on Wednesday, December 1, 1875 in Prince Edward, Ontario.

The map bellow is from this travel site. The map is of an area in Prince Edward Ontario County.  And look what city is in it.  Belleville, where the photo was taken.

So I think I have the right Willie.  If Willie was born in 1875, he would have been 4 or 5 in 1879-80.  This fits with the dates I found for the photographer working in Belleville. Without a membership, I can’t get to far into Ancestry.ca but I think Willie’s Dad was named William Edgar Fisk Vanderwood and his Mom was named Mahelable Vanderwood.

That was a fun bit of research on a photo that I wasn’t that interested in possessing in the first place!

Now, with this blog post done, I’m going to explore the blog I found during my research….Noozeum’s Material Culture.

Edwardian Blue

I spent last weekend sewing and watching episode after episode of Murdoch Mysteries.  I am now all caught up in that show but, as is true in real life, the show has moved on in time and they are now in the early 1900’s just after the queen’s death.  My true love is still the Victorian Era but I am beginning to like Edwardian era and I am beginning to appreciate some of the fashions.  So with that in mind, I give you one more Edwardian outfit from the last display put on by the Costume Museum of Canada.IMG_0198







Project machine!

Before we begin the fun, let us pause for a moment of silence to remember our fallen soldiers.  If it were not for them, we wouldn’t have the freedom to pursue our odd little hobbies and interests.


Project machine.  That’s me.  Just firing them off one by one.

I have an event next weekend (if all goes well) and I’m excited about it but I’m also shaking in my shoes in fear that I will be shaking in my shoes in freezing conditions!  I went out and bought some fall boots and if you squint in the dark, they will look like something that may have been worn in the 1840’s.  I will likely be modern with my heavy socks and waffle fabric long underwear but over that I will be wearing my new flannel petticoat.  

Wearing an embroidered cotton flannel petticoat in cold weather is authentic.  Having machine embroidery…not so much.  But I am pressed for time and if you squint in the dark…well you get the picture.SAM_1546

Once that was done, I needed to think about my poor hands.  I went for the muff I made here. I had made it so I could change the cover to co-ordinate with other outfits.  But, in removing the cover, I remembered that I hadn’t put in proper ties yet…it was still being held together with wool.  So proper ties jump to the head of the to-do list.  I made the channels too narrow, so what should have taken a few seconds to do took and episode and a half of Murdoch Mysterys! SAM_1547

Once the cover was off (and finished) I decided to steal my friend Shirley’s idea and flip my muff inside out and sew a pocket into it for slipping a “hot pocket” package in. SAM_1548Then I flipped it right way out again so that the pocket will be next to my hands. (We will call this last paragraph a tutorial “How to keep your hands warm and hide modern conveniences.”

Okay, with that done, it was time to make the new cover.  I wanted it dark brown to go with the trim on my 1840 copper penny dress and hat.  I went rummaging in my stash but couldn’t find a big enough piece.  What I did find is two smaller pieces attached to pieces of light brown.  They came from hacking the ends off of my pagoda sleeves when I decided that they were too long.  I sewed the pieces together and ended up with a muff cover that will go with my copper penny dress and my 1850’s tea dress.SAM_1552I hated that sewing line.  And it really was quite boring.  So….SAM_1553Now I have a submission for Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge 25 1 meter. Not bad for a half day of work.  I’ll likely rip that bow off and replace it with something more interesting when I have the time and the idea.  It will do for now.