Why reinvent a crappier wheel!

On Saturday I went to a craft sale.  I had minimal interest in the sale itself…what I really wanted was to get inside the building it was being held in.  The building was an old CP Rail building (1904) that had be converted into a space for the local aboriginal community to use.  Not being of aboriginal decent, I had no earthly reason to go in it.

My primary interest in it was that it was the forth station to stand on that site and it was at that site, my Great Grandfather would have arrived in Winnipeg before walking a couple of blocks to get to a hotel.  He spent the night in the hotel and then walked across the street to the old city hall to find work.  I did a blog post about that a few years ago.

While at the craft sale, I took photos with the intention of sharing here.  There was such a crush that it was doubtful these photos would have looked good.  Well, low and behold, I found a Facebook page that did a much better job…so enjoy!


Turn the page: beginnings of a pattern

The next page of my photo album has head shots of a woman and a man.  There is a similarity in style that might lead one to believe these are companion photographs of a husband and wife.  As we will see in a moment, they likely are not as they were not taken in the same city.SAM_3260

So, let’s check the lady out…SAM_3261

1880’s hair and possibly 90’s sleeves. SAM_3262

I was not successful locating any information on the Farmer Bros. other than a few examples of their work.  James F Barke was a photographer in the 1880’s and 90’s. I was unable to find any information about 294 Queen Street other than it had various business’ (some of them photography studios) but no firm dates.

Now for the gentleman…SAM_3263

His latest fellow had his photograph taken in Sault St. Marie Michigan.


Okay,  lets look at the patterns.

General looks of the subjects….The gentleman above has the same mustache, hair color, eye brows and nose as the fellow from an earlier post on this album.SAM_3244

And the same nose as this fellow from the last post.SAM_3254

Perhaps these are brothers.


Winnipeg – album was bought in Winnipeg.

Photographs taken in Winnipeg.SAM_3247


(These two ladies are not the same lady and they do not look enough alike to make me think that they are sisters.)

Photos taken in TorontoSAM_3239



Photos taken in Sault St. Marie Michigan.SAM_3258


Does location imply family groups?  If the man, woman and children from Toronto, are a nuclear family why are they grouped in the book so randomly.  Were they put in by the original owner randomly?  In order of receiving them?  Are they even in the original place the first owner of the book put them in?  Have random family members and collectors pulled them out and rearranged them?  Are they even related to each other or known to each other as friends?

There are patterns but there are more questions than answers.

Turn the page: couple and single

The last page of my new photo album that I wrote about was a man and a woman.SAM_3242

The man’s photo was taken in Toronto (as was the children’s photo on the previous page) and the woman’s photo was taken in Winnipeg.

The next page features a couple on one side and a young lady on the other.SAM_3253

Let’s focus on the couple first.


Once out of the album, we see that the couple were from Winnipeg like the lady from the page before and also where the album was purchased.


With a convoluted search that I wont trouble you with the links for, I discovered the photographer was J.F. Mitchell and he was working in Winnipeg from 1889-1907.  The lady’s hair style was popular in the 1880’s but the dress looks more belle epoch than bustle so I will estimate the photo to be 1889-1895.

Next is the young lady.  Snappy winter ensemble she has!


Once we slide her out of her sleeve we see she did not have her photo done in Winnipeg.SAM_3258

In fact, it wasn’t even done in Canada.SAM_3259

There is only a river between Canada and Sault Ste Marie Michigan and Sault Ste Marie Ontario Canada.  They were one city until the war of 1812.  Those naughty Americans tried to make Canada another State.  A treaty after the war divided the city in half.  Was this girl a Canadian going to school in the States?  Was she on holiday?  Was she an American cousin?

I can find no information on the photographer and I can only guess at the date of the photograph as well.  But based on the stamp in the front I’d estimate the photograph at 1882-1900.

Meme too

SAM_3154One of my costume mates (Lottie Lovett) has a blog/journal and she posted an ABC post and I’m going to steal the idea.

A- Age: 51
B- Biggest Fear: tie between snakes and heights
C- Current Time: 7:05 am
D- Drink you last had: Coffee
E- Easiest Person to Talk to: My best friend
F- Favorite Song: I have several and they change all the time but the one I call “my soul to music” is Pachebel Canon in D
G- Ghosts, are they real: They are something.  One theory is they are souls who have not left this Earthly plain and another is demons.  I find both ideas scary.
H- Hometown: Winnipeg, MB, Canada! But I was born in Edmonton and lived a bit in Thunder Bay
I- In love with: My family.  I love them all in different ways
J- Jealous of: people who don’t need to work (retired, independently wealthy) and can spend their days doing as they please.
K- Killed Someone?: Nope but I would to save my children
L- Last time you cried?: There was a death in the family this past week (due to ALS). I’ve had a few good cries daily.
M- Middle Name: Marie…same one as my mother.  I heard somewhere that many French folks give girls Marie after the Virgin Mary and Joseph after her husband.
N- Number of Siblings: Two, both younger than me ( 1 brother and 1 sister)
O- One Wish: World Peace?  No really, all I really want is my wandering son to come home from Europe and stay.  He has been wandering the world for the last 2.5 years and I’m tired of it.
P- Person who you last called: I don’t remember!  I text more than I call!
Q- Question you’re always asked: Is all that hair yours?  (And yes it is.)
R- Reason to smile: God has it all in hand.
S- Song last sang: God be with you till we meet again.
T- Time you woke up: 5:45 am
U- Underwear Colour: burgundy
V- Vacation Destination: Carlyle Saskatchewan in December and Mexico in January
W- Worst Habit: eating when I am stressed out.
X- X-Rays you’ve had: I’ve had tons.  Head to toe.
Y- Your favorite food: KFC or McDonald’s (why can’t I lose weight?)
Z- Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius


HSF: Challenge 9 Brown


What the item is: small beige beaded bag
The Challenge: 9 Brown (beige is brown, right!)
Fabric: cotton for lining
Pattern: The Lady’s Assistant for Executing Useful and Fancy Designs in Knitting, Netting, and Crochet Work (1847) by Jane Gaugain
I made up the same pattern in a silk thread in a previous challenge. The bag was lovely but it doesn’t hold very much of my modern parafanalia. I thought the larger wool, beads and needles would make a slightly larger bag. It does. The pattern was also fun to make up inspite of the woes I had with dropped stitches so I enjoyed doing it again.
Year: 1847
Notions: fine wool, larger seed beads, set of double point needles appropriate for wool.
How historically accurate is it? 70%? I think they would have lined it in silk not cotton but I had the cotton in my stash. The beads are glass and I’m not sure they would have had glass BRONZE beads. I think their metallic beads would have been metal. I am unsure that wool would have been used. The pattern called for silk but I’m not sure a thrifty woman wouldn’t have stash busted and used available wool.
Hours to complete: about 30 which is much less than the silk bag. With everything being bigger I found it easier to see and handle with my middle aged eyes and hands.
First worn: Not yet
Total cost: $4 for the beads and $8 for the wool.


Turn the page

We started with the babies.

Front page is of two young girls.

Front page is of two young children.

Then we turn the page in the album and we have….SAM_3242

My initial hope is these are the parents of the two babies.  It is still possible.  If it is, the photos were likely taken prior to the wedding.  You will see why I say this in just a moment.  Let us start with the gentleman.

A sharply dressed fellow who looks to be in his 30’s.  What a mustache!  SAM_3244Once slid out of his sleeve we find his photograph was done in Toronto like the children were.SAM_3246

J Fraser Bryce was at this location 1885-1903.  The card could be dated to the earlier end of this time span because of the color of the card.

“In the mid 1880s dark-colored cards were introduced and used until the early 1890’s. The most popular was a dark maroon and black.” (info found here)

The small plain print was more common in the early 80’s (but not unheard of later) so I’d estimate the card to  be from 1885-1890.  This would be prior to the date I estimated for the children (1891-1900).  If this is the dad, the photo would have been taken prior to their birth.

The next page is the female.SAM_3247If this is the mom, I would guess this would be prior to the wedding on several counts.  The first being, couple or wedding photographs typically have the couple in the same photograph or separately but in the same style to be a complimentary pair.

Being two separate cities made the complimentary pair a bit tricky!SAM_3250

John Ross seems to have worked in Winnipeg from 1882-88.  The lady’s card is dark with the photographer’s stamp in the front.  The main difference is the font is fancier which came into vogue in the 1882-1900.  So again, based on the color of the card and the location of the print, as well as the time the photographer was working, I estimate this card to be from 1885-88.


This date suits her fabulous bustle fashions to a tee. And this is a very similar time to the man and early enough to be the mother of the children.

Are these the parents of the children?  How did they meet?  What are their names?  Did they live in Toronto, where the man’s and the children’s photograph was taken?  Did they live in Winnipeg where “mom” is from and where I found the album?

Investigation begins-first page.

I want to investigate the photographs in my anniversary album and I will start with the first page.

Front page is of two young girls.

Front page is of two young children.

If you go with the idea that immediate family would dominate the first page, then we can hope that these two children are the book owner’s children. SAM_3238 The older child is obviously a girl.  The younger child is likely a boy as the hair is parted to the side.  Let’s carefully slide the photograph out of the page….SAM_3239

Whew! Did it…no damage done.  Now we know the children were at least in Toronto for a visit if not outright citizens of the city.SAM_3240

A quick internet search of Park Bros, at this address, places the range somewhere around 1891 and 1925.  I doubt the date is as late as 1925.  At least I hope it is not.  When we flip the card over we find a lovely photographer’s stamp.SAM_3241

The practice of large prints on the back became popular in the late 1880’s.  And I quote,

This confirms my belief that the 1920’s was too late a date.

I have no idea how to date children’s clothing or hair so that is no help narrowing the date.  So the best we can do is date the card from 1891 (based on the photographers address) and 1900 based on the card (assuming old stock was not being used up.)

I hope further investigation of the album will give us clues to the identity of the family.  I  am also hoping that this will lead us to the conclusion that it was actually a family album and not merely an album holding the treasures of a collector like myself!

That idea came into my head when I first saw the album in the store.  Another couple was looking at it (much to my horror).  The husband put it down  (much to my relief) saying, “none of these people look alike.  It was probably a photographers sample book or a collectors album”.  As there are random photographs from assorted photographers, it isn’t a sample book.  We still need to prove it is a family’s album.

Winter cap

1894-95 winter cap...handmade.

1894-95 winter cap…handmade.  Costume Museum of Canada collection.

Winter in my neck of the woods is, in a word, brutal.  This little cap may have been worn indoors or on less frigid days for quick trots out to the back yard.  It is hand-made and more utilitarian than fancy so I’m guessing it wasn’t used by a lady use to the finer things in life.  It also seems more “old-fashioned” than the date implies so may be worn by an older woman.

Left side view

Left side view

Back view.

Back view.

Right side view.

Right side view.

Top view

Top view

As a lover of knitting, I attempted to figure out how it was made.  I have thought I’d made one or two more “common folk” wear outfits and this would do nicely as an accessory.  The ties and edge trim was easy to figure out.

Hairpin lace technique.

Hairpin lace technique.

It has been awhile since I took these photos and my cell phone takes crappy pictures, but I think it is 3 strips of hairpin lace.  The red line is an outside edge of one strip.  Red wool has been worked into it to finish of the edge.  The next line is the inner stitches of hairpin lace.  Here is a good description of a basic hairpin lace stitch.

The next wavy line is the edges of the first strip joined with a second strip of lace A strand of matching wool snakes over top of the join.  Unfortunately, I can’t quite make out how the join was made.  I have a few ideas how I could mimic but I’d have to trial and error that one.

The process is repeated with a third strip of lace and an edging of red is added to that out edge.

For the back edge, it looks like the same process is done but the three strips of lace are joined as above and then folded in half lengthwise, gathered and then attached to the “body” of the cap.

Now the body of the cap is the real tricky part.

1894-5 CMC h

It is possible that this is a knit stitch similar to this one. But I really think it is actually a weave.

I also had the sense that it was two woven pieces together (for extra warmth).  It was really hard to tell without really yanking on these old fibers!

So someday I would like to give this a try.


Best anniversary gift ever!

My hubby and I just had our 26th wedding anniversary and I got the best gift ever.  Granted, I was pretty mercenary about how I got it.  You see, I was out and about the weekend prior to our anniversary and I made an impulse stop at my favorite antique shop (which I blogged about here.)  While there, I saw something that I REALLY WANTED but didn’t have cash on hand to buy it. It was also a bigger credit card purchase and the hubby and I agree not to buy expensive luxury items on credit unless we discuss it first.

How to get it?  Gears turn in brain…. Ah Ha!  My anniversary is coming up!  I will get the hubby to get it for me!  I pre-negotiated the price before I left and I said hubby would be in the coming week to get my gift…hopefully!

And judging by the title of this post, he came through!

Antique photo album!

Antique photo album!


Faded blue/green velvet with a brass corner piece.

Faded blue/green velvet with a brass corner piece.


I didn't notice the grasshoppers until I got it home!  Awesome!  There are two but I think there was originally three of them.

I didn’t notice the grasshoppers until I got it home! Awesome! There are two but I think there was originally three of them.


Interesting and fully functional clasp.

Interesting and fully functional clasp.


The spine is still intact as well.

The spine is still intact as well.


The pages have a floral motif.

The pages have a floral motif.


And all the pages are full.

And all the pages are full.


I will be carefully taking them all out, one by one, to see if there are any clues as to the identity of the family that originally owned it.