No broken legs

No broken legs at this weekend’s Doors Open event at the old jail but I will admit to some really sore feet!

SAM_2821Saturday was a freakishly cold day and I claim full responsibility for that.  I was afraid that being dressed in black from head to toe would be hellish in the heat so I prayed fervently for cool weather.  It worked and Shirley and I found we needed our capes and even with those we were still a mite cool. SAM_2822Sunday was normal temperatures and I was correct…it was hellish. (More pictures from Sunday to follow.)

Now I sit on my couch, my throbbing feet up, a lap top in front of me (so I can catch up on the modern world), a bowl of ice-cream to my left and a puppy to my right.  I will savor my evening in the knowledge that the tour went well: we set a new record for number of folks put through and most seemed to really enjoy the event!  Who should I play next year?

Here we go again!

My city is having its Doors Open event again.  For Doors Open, several historic buildings are being opened up to the public.  This means that buildings that usually have a fee (eg. house museums) are free and buildings that are used as office spaces are allowing non-staff and non-customers to come in and have a look around.

The site that I work at is the old jail built in the 1880’s.  The jail is basically gutted now with it being mostly empty except for some storage and a couple of office spaces.  A friend of mine has a vision of it being converted into a tourist attraction with some restoration, some history and some sort of cafe or bar.  This has been done in multiple places in Europe and even the states.  But for now, the public only has access to it during this annual weekend event.

The jail has several local historic figures connected to it as well as several groups of humanity.  My friend has arranged that amateur actors such as myself play characters in several of the gutted rooms so the tourist can imagine what it was like to work in or be incarcerated in this jail at that time.

I have played Dr. Amelia Yeomans one of the first women in Canada to hold a medical degree (second only to her daughter).Me as Dr Amelia YeomansI have played a prostitute who would have been put in jail for plying her trade.SAM_2166This evening I will be helping to set this year’s event up and practicing my role as a family member collecting the body of one of the prisoners.  The point of this role is to talk about what funerals were like back in the day and to point out that prisoners would be dying in there from diseases, violence, child-birth and hangings.  I will be wearing my mourning outfit and Shirley will also be playing a mourner in her gown.15240_568470999923421_7193027649814157401_n

Hopefully, we wont be grinning like Cheshire cats while playing our roles!  Wish us a set of broken legs please!

Last nights volunteer session: a la 1880’s

There will be a display of 1880’s dresses from the Costume Museum of Canada at my favorite local house museum.  I have much joy in  all of this for three reasons.  1) the display will be during Doors Open which I really enjoy.  During this event the doors of historic buildings are thrown open and folks are allowed in to see some of our “lovely’s” that might only be open for employees of business’ housed in them.  2) The house museum I mentioned above, where the display will be, had some issues a couple of years back and the possibility of it being closed down and converted into some sort of office space (HORROR) was considered.  My hope is that they are going to attempt the museum route once more and Door’s Open is a toe in the water.  Fingers crossed! 3) Well, who doesn’t love 1880’s dresses!

I will be sharing some of these dresses with you as I get good photos of them.  The first is a dress for a young teen.1880's teen's dress a

It is made from a light cotton.1880's teen's dress b

The print is dainty and sweet.1880's teen's dress c

And the little pleats are very well made.1880's teen's dress d

A nice little summer dress for a young girl.

This isn’t going my way so I will reroute myself…

So that Battenburg Lace hankie is not going to plan.  lace 5It seems that the ink from the pattern is transferring onto the lace so now it looks grubby and there is a possibility it wont clean up well.  (If I were to do this again, I’d put a layer of tissue paper between the print and the lace so I can see the pattern without the ink transferring.  Read on to figure out why I might not do this again.)

The hand sewing is boring…. And the stitches, though more exciting look like crap. It looks like it is being done by a blind 5 year old.  But the thread would look so nice as a needle tatted lace and needle tatting goes so quickly and looks so nice!  Sigh, so now I am distracted by some needle tatting….that totally does not meet the next challenge goals for HSF, which is try something new.

My attempt at Battenburg Lace

I found a link for a book on making Battenburg Lace on the “Vortex” aka Pintrest. I decided that this would be my “try something new” project for the next Historical Sew Monthly.  I wanted something useful and small to try and a scrolling through the pages gave me this pattern.035ifull I copied it onto a Word document and then enlarged it as much as it would allow and printed it. When I measured the width of the broader lines, it was about half the width of the fabric tape I bought at my fabric store.   Then I took the photocopy to work where I have access to a printer that enlarges and made 4 copies at 200% magnification.lace 2I cut the four pieces out.lace 1Then I taped them together.lace 3The plan is to make this into a handkerchief with the square in the middle being where I will add a plain cotton piece to be the business end of the handkerchief. The next step was to pin the tape to the paper and then baste it down.  So far the printer paper has held up to the demand.  The tape is not lovely but it was cheap and easy to find and I really didn’t want to lay out a ton of cash for what amounts to an experiment.  lace 4 Using white thread, I whip stitched the folds and joins down and also gathered up the edges that are running along a curved edge.  That is a long and dull process!  I chose several stitches from the above mentioned book and I have started putting them into the spaces between the tapes.  Here are the first two stitches I have tried.010i3 014i1 (1)And this is how they look.  lace 5Battenberg lace makers have little to fear from me!  I have used a crochet thread and it is a bit on the heavy side but it was on hand and was a better than the thinner stuff I have. Once all the spaces are filled in and the edges are done, I will have to remove the black thread and paper and then whip stitch the folds and joins on the “wrong” side and then add the cotton square to the middle.  Wish me luck!

New toy in the sewing room

My sewing room is also my guest room (and potentially my oldest boys room if he moves back to Canada) so it needs a bed in it.  We just landed the perfect little number!  desk 1

It is a desk with a ton of room on it for piling up that crap that one needs while sewing…note the rum and coke on the nearer end.  But, company is coming!

With one hand I pull two pins and pull down on the top edge of the desk…desk 3The bed comes down and the stuff on the desk…including the rum and coke…gets gently tucked under the bed.desk 2Take the pillow down from its hiding place behind the desk and you have a bed.  Fold up the chair and tuck it away between the bed and the dresser (which is full of fabric) and there is now room for a guest to walk around.  They may have to get used to Trudy watching them while they sleep.desk 5She does stare down at the bed in a rather creepy manor.  This next photo is the view of the room from the door.desk 4I’m not completely happy with this arrangement so there may be some more shuffling around.  Trudy hides my lovely sewing machine.