Carte de Visite…because there still is no progress to report

I picked up this carte de visite in a local antique shop.  It is of a woman and a baby, which I assume is her child, and was taken in my city, Winnipeg.


The photographer is Fredrick W Parkin and he was in the studio at 490 Main street from 1894-1905.  The woman’s dress has the large sleeves associated with the 1890’s so we can assume this photograph is from that decade.  She is identified on the back.sam_3073

I read the inscription as “Mrs. Joseph Frament. Oak Lake, French.  I think the lady is married to Joseph Frament but I was unable to find him.  She was from Oak Lake Manitoba which is near Winnipeg.  And the word “French”…?  Was this a notation that she was French? I wonder why that notation was more important than her given name of the name of the baby.

I like it when my photographs have names.  I love it more when I can find out more about them from the names but it didn’t turn out that way this time.

The no progress, progress post

For Historical Sew Monthly, the challenge this month is heroes. My project  is one that I learned about from a blogger known as Koshka or Katherine.   193

From her I heard of the Canadian Cloud or nubia.  So that was going to be my entry.  I chose a dreadfully thin wool so it is taking FOREVER to get anywhere with it!  img_20160828_115754412.jpg45 minutes per row!  It will be a miracle if it is finished this year, never mind this month.  On top of all that, I’m a bit bored with it.  This is a common problem for me…which explains why I have probably 30 unfinished knitting projects.

My thrum mitts are on hold as well.  img_20161002_152659041_hdr

I have come to the conclusion that I have been far to generous with my thrum bits and not only would the mitts be far too fat, I will not have enough to finish.  This means I need to rip out my progress, try to keep all the pieces from disintegrating and then make them smaller.  That seems no fun.  That sentiment = project on hold.

And I started a new project. I swear I didn’t buy this wool…a friend gave it to me!  I didn’t break my “no buying wool (unless…)” rule!img_20161025_092419725.jpg

The squares are knit on double point needles and the pattern reminds me of the bed cover I saw in one of our local house museums.


7 Oaks House Museum

The squares on the above cover are larger so likely, they were made on regular needles and each square is made up of 4 triangles.

But, in spite of the fact that this project does not match any of the challenges and is not anything I actually need in my household or anything I could give as a gift, it is the thing I am most interested in doing.  That is probably because each row is different so I don’t get bored and because once each square is done, I feel like I have finished a project…immediate gratification.  Then I add it to the growing “Unnecessary Blanket”.img_20161025_092400500.jpgAnyone else have this project ADD problem?

Steampunk Wedding

I went to a Steampunk Wedding yesterday.  It was a small affair and I went dateless-just not the hubby’s thing.  It was an excellent opportunity to eat cake and wear one more costume.  I wore my 1890’s summer ensemble, 1850’s knitted shawl and my early 1800’s gloves.  I know…nothing remotely plausible about that age range but, hey, it is steampunk so historical accuracy isn’t the goal!img_20161022_130710981_hdr.jpg

Hope you had a nice Saturday too!

Is he dead?

Many cabinet card and carte de visite  collectors rage at unethical sellers who try to up the value of a card by claiming that the person in it is dead when clearly they are not.  This is often seen with sleeping baby pictures.  I’ve had kids of my own.  Sometimes it is plain easier to get them to stay still when they are sleeping.  This is particularly useful when your photography system requires extended time blocks of stillness to work.  I’ve also had my kids fall asleep and become like the living dead when I don’t want them to.  So I hesitate to claim this card has a dead kid in it.  What do you think?sam_3055

It is the strange stance that had me look twice.  It is like he has been propped up against the women.  The elbow at first glance, is propped on “granny’s” leg but when you look again, it seems to be more “draped” over her leg.  There is no energy in that arm.  But it is the head that really looks off.sam_3055-copyIt is tipped back.  And the eyes appear closed.  The face is washed out with light so it is difficult to tell if the eyes are closed or if they are blurred out from moving during the photographic process.  So I fiddled with the picture using effects on my computer.sam_3055-copyYup, eyes seem closed.

Your call…Dead or sleeping? If he is sleeping, would a normal child at this age be able to remain asleep after being posed (possibly in a photographer’s stand) in this up right position?

I can’t find information for this photographer but I think Biggar is in Scotland.sam_3056

As an aside, I think this card is from the 1870’s.  The corners were originally square.  The younger woman’s hair style is quite elaborate and there is a ton of props and backgrounds in the photograph.

To excited to blog!

I booked my winter vacation yesterday!  I’m off to Cuba next winter!  Veradero here I come!

I’m looking forward to what seems to be amazing beaches and amazing locals!  I expect things to be like Mexico in terms of hearing Spanish all of the time (lovely language), seeing lovely buildings with some degree of wear and tear (thousands of people tromping through a hotel in a damp tropical climate makes for some issues but nothing that is vacation ruining) and dedicated staff trying to make a good living by making a good vacation for me.  I have heard that Cuban food can be a bit more bland than what we are used to so I plan on eating a ton of amazing fresh bread and bringing my own ketchup and may be a spice bottle or two.

I’ve also done my research about sand flies.  It seems I am one of those people who react badly to those damn things!IMG_20160129_163534164.jpg

It was terrible.  It itched like mad and it was not so much welts as my whole ankle swelled up into one big kankle.  It went on for weeks after the trip.  This year, I’m going prepared.  I’ll be taking garlic pills and antihistamines before I leave and keeping that up, as well as a bug spray regime through out the trip.  Any hint of a bite and I will be slathering in after bite lotions.

Okay, January, hurry up and get here!


“Its like a postcard!”

Occasionally, we all take that perfect picture.  The one that makes you say, “that is like a postcard”. At least we used to say that.  Now we say, “that could be a screen saver”.  I bring this up because at some point during the turn of the century, people were making postcards of their photographs, presumably, to send to loved ones in far off places. Many moons ago, I picked up a bunch from an antique shop.


All of the following photographs have a version of this on the back. None have writing on them.


The first is an Edwardian family. The mother’s dress is pigeon fronted and her hair is a bit “Gibson” in style.

I love the buttons on Mom’s skirt and daughter’s curls are cute.  Does Dad have prominent front teeth?  No matter, he has style!  That suit is fabulous!

The next batch have a slightly different backing on them…no photographers name on them.  The photographs were bought at the same time, in the same place.  They are all taken on grass, in front of bushes.  Could it all be the same location? Are they a hobby photographers work? Are they photographs of his/her friends and family?


Nice white gown and to die for hat!

Very pretty face!


Same lady with parasol.

I like the previous photo of this woman better.


Is this a family photograph?  Love her coat and bag!


Possibly the same lady from the previous photograph. This hat is AMAZING!

That is it for my Edwardian postcards. Until next time folks.


HSM 2016: Challenge #9 Historicism

A few weeks late but here goes.  My inspiration was gloves like these:


This pair can be seen on the Met web site.


Also from the Met.

They could depict an historical event or character or styles and were seen during the early 1800’s.

And these are my interpretations.img_20161011_071005101

I haven’t decided if I want to scallop the bottoms or leave them as is.  It would be shallow scallops with my pinking shears if I do it.  What do you think?

What the item is: gloves

The Challenge: 9 Historicism

Fabric/Materials: Leather

Pattern: self drafted

Year: early 1800’s

Notions: needle and thread for leather, stamp and stamp pad

How historically accurate is it? The pattern should be good.  The shape and pieces are similar to my original example.  I had to self draft because I can’t find ready made patterns that fit my short, broad fingers.  The span across my palm is problematic as well.  I can’t wear bangles because I can’t get them over my thumb joint.

I used leather and that is spot on.  I can’t say if the curing process is the same.  I have no idea. The color of the leather and of the ink is good…I’ve seen examples of both. The ship stamp is plausible but the ink is likely wrong.  The gloves were hand sewn which is correct.  (I had tiny stitches but I sure need to work on evenness!) The thread is polyester so that is not correct.  I will wear them as out door/day time gloves and my “persona” is more well to do and that is appropriate.  I’m also older so even though my costumes are typically Victorian, it might not be so odd that I’d favor some items from my Regency youth.  I’m also Canadian so some of my fashions may be a bit out of style compared to France. So I give them about 90%

Hours to complete: about 20

First worn: not yet

Total cost: Leather $4, stamp and ink $6, needles and thread $15.  In reality it was $4 because all of the other stuff is either reusable or there is a huge amount of left overs that will be added to the stash.

I have black leather that I intend to make gloves out of as well so these were a fabulous trial run.  I have already altered my pattern to shorten the middle finger and make the fingers a bit more snug. I’m okay with these being a bit loose for now. Honestly, I can’t get modern leather gloves on (see above) so it is a bit of a treat to have them be too loose.  At a later time, I may resort to shrinking them (dunk them in warm water and wear them till they dry).

Do let me know if you think I should scallop the bottom.  I have a hard time with finding the line between enough detail and crazy lady so I usually end up with blah.

Ummm that leather smell

I’m trying to make leather gloves for last months HSF challenge.  I drafted a pattern because the store-bought one I have just wont fit my huge paws.  I cut the leather and now I’m hand sewing it.  It is actually wonderful to sew.  The needle glides through it with ease and the feel of the leather is so yummy and the smell is divine.  I really hope these work out!img_20161006_204547129.jpg