Photos of my “acting career”

The line up to get into the jail

The line up to get into the jail

Shirley bringing the crowd up to me

Shirley bringing the crowd up to me

Waiting for the crowd to file into the room

Waiting for the crowd to file into the room

Doin' my lines

Doin’ my lines

Had a visit with the Mac Leods!

Had a visit with the Mac Leods!

I set her to work!

I set her to work!

I was visited by boys!

I was visited by boys!

most of the crowd was interested in seeing the cells that are still in the building

most of the crowd was interested in seeing the cells that are still in the building

A little extra details were put into the cells for the prisoners who were slaighted to be executed.

A little extra details were put into the cells for the prisoners who were slated to be executed.

A shot of most of the volunteers for the the weekend.

A shot of most of the volunteers for the weekend.






Historical Sew Fortnightly: 1

This challenge was to create something that  would have been worn in a year ending in 13.  I cheated on this some.  I took a project that I rushed through to wear with Victorian at Heart’s Christmas outing.SAM_0139

I made the hat to go with my 1895 walking suit but the hat could easily go for a 1913 hat.  But, because it was rushed, it needed some tweeking.SAM_0233Not all the seams got caught under the pressure foot.SAM_0232One of the feathers broke after it’s first wear.SAM_0234And I wanted more piled on top.SAM_0235I fixed all the seams.SAM_0237And tacked everything down as the glue was letting go.SAM_0238And I added few more feathers and fixed the broken one.

The Challenge: 1

Fabric: Taffeta, cotton lace, synthetic something or other…I think it used to be a curtain.

Pattern: Butterick 4210

Year: 1890s-1910

Notions: Feathers, fake flowers

How historically accurate is it? Not to bad…except for the hot glue.

Hours to complete:  The fix up was only about 2 hours.  To build it was about 8 hours.

First worn: Dec. 7

Total cost:  The pattern was about $10.  The stuff came from my stash.

Victorian at Heart does Christmas

Last weekend, my little club ventured forth for our Christmas outing.  As usual, there were 500 photos taken, some of which you have already seen and some of which I have not yet seen myself.  I want to show you some more of the photos that I do have, but which to chose…which to chose?

We went to the Dalnavert Museum, the home of Sir Hugh John Macdonald, the son of Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A Macdonald.

Christmas tree - Copy

The reason we chose this location was it was decorated in Victorian Christmas decor and it is my favorite of our house museums! I was wearing my 1895 walking suit and Shirley also wore her 1895 outfit.

This photo was taken in the hall way of the upper floor.

This photo was taken in the hall way of the upper floor.

Shirley dressed up our co-worker in one of her outfits.  (This co-worker needs a stage name.  I will call her Coco Worker.)  Coco was wearing Shirley’s 1885 outfit.  The house was built in 1895 so our story is that Coco is a poor relation who was wearing a hand me down.  In order to make the silhouette of the dress more in style with the 1890s, Coco left off the bustle that originally came with the dress.  This is my favorite photo taken of Coco that day.  She is looking in the mirror of the front vestibule.front door mirror - Copy

We also met up with the MacLeods.  (I need to come up with first names to go with their made up last name.  Let’s see…Christopher and….ummm….Amanda MacLeod…there we go!)  Christopher is lucky.  His usual ensemble fits in just about any Victorian era.  Most of his outfit is actual Victorian pieces, with the jacket belonging to someone of some importance to Winnipeg but for the life of me I can’t remember who.

Chistopher is checking out the grammaphone.

Christopher is checking out the gramophone.

Amanda is looking lovely in purple.  She rented her dress and hat from a place that has an assortment of dresses that are of various ages.

Amanda and I are sitting in the window bench at the top of the main stairs.  The stain glass is lovely!

Amanda and I are sitting in the window bench at the top of the main stairs. The stain glass is lovely!

About half way through our photo shoot hour, I removed my hat and jacket because I was  a) getting hot, b) wanting to look the part of the lady of the house entertaining her guests and c) showing the versatility of this outfit as far as costume flexibility?  And the answer is “a”.

at home wear - Copy

And for my final serving of Victorian finery, I offer the obligatory stair case photo.

staircase - Copy

I’m glad the cameras got put away at this point.  Most of us headed off to a nice little diner/bakery for a lunch that we all managed to not have time for earlier on.  I parked the car and Coco and I began a fairly lengthy walk to the establishment’s front door.  The weather in my burg has been ghastly with freezing rain.  I was not at all cold (please recall that I was striping down layers earlier on in the afternoon) but I was not at all graceful either.  I hit a patch of ice in my heeled boots and began a cartoonish spinning of my feet.  I was struggling desperately to stay on my feet and to protect the hat that I had just spent all morning working on!  I failed on both counts and hit the ground with my hat sailing off.  (I just had this vision in my mind of someone looking out the livingroom window of their Edwardian house and seeing ghostly figures of Victorian woman gliding down the street in the dusky light and suddenly, one of them hits the ground….I wonder what they had to talk about over their supper table that night)  Anyway, humiliation makes you agile and I was up on my feet in an instant and on my way to the diner.  It was a few hours later that I realized that I had twisted my knee and have been hobbling a bit ever since.  Really, it isn’t that bad, the stabbing pain isn’t all day and neither is the nauseating grinding sensation…!  Thank goodness it is not the Victorian era or they’d have to amputate.  Just kidding!  It’s not that bad!  Makes for a good story though!  Have a good Friday folks.  Talk to you tomorrow.

Papier Mache

You may wonder why a Victorian themed blog would be posting about papier mache.  Well that is because, while on our Christmas photo shoot, I got an upclose and personal view of a couple of items in the Dalnavert Museums parlour (a room that you normally can only see from the roped off doorway).What is this?

The items were functional and made out of papier mache.

A desk set.

A desk set.

They also made full-sized furniture.  In this case a chess table.


Here is the view of the top of the chess set.  It looks like the white squares are mother of pearl.

SAM_0163My memory may have been faulty of this matter but I thought I was told this was done as a craft…like knitting or needle point…at home.  I’m not finding any information out there that suggests that is true.  So either my hearing and/or memory is going and I was not told that or it is true and I just haven’t found the proof for it or my tour guide missed the mark there.

Wikipedia’s description of the process for making furniture quality pieces sounds like it would have been quite the task for an upper crust person to be engaging in for a hobby.

Starting around 1725 in Europe, gilded papier-mâché began to appear as a low-cost alternative to similarly treated plaster or carved wood in architecture. Henry Clay of Birmingham, England, patented a process for treating laminated sheets of paper with linseed oil to produce waterproof panels in 1772. These sheets were used for building coach door panels, amongst other structural uses. Theodore Jennens patented a process in 1847 for steaming and pressing these laminated sheets into various shapes, which was then used to manufacture trays, chair backs, and structural panels, usually laid over a wood or metal armature for strength. The papier-mâché was smoothed and lacquered, or finished with a pearl shell finish. The industry lasted through the 19th century.[3] Russia had a thriving industry in ornamental papier-mâché. A large assortment of painted Russian papier-mâché items appear in a Tiffany & Co. catalog from 1893.[4] Martin Travers the English ecclesiastical designer made much use of papier mache for his church furnishings in the 1930s.

Papier-mâché has been used for doll heads starting as early as 1540, molded in two parts from a mixture of paper pulp, clay, and plaster, and then glued together, with the head then smoothed, painted and varnished.[5]

The most I could imagine for crafts is purchasing the papier mache item and then painting it and finishing it at home.  I may have to ask History Myths Debunked to clarify that for me.

I did it with not a moment to spare!

I was able to finish my hat on time to wear it for my Christmas outing with Victorian at Heart.  I will need to reinforce a few things with a needle and thread and clean up some seams as well but I think it turned out really well and I am pleased!SAM_0139

A big hat really suits my face I think.  Because I have a bigger face, a bigger hat looks more in proportion.  I will post more photos of our outing later on in the week, once I have seen all of them and can pick the best ones.

I’d love to post more of the ones that I do have but, I wiped out on the ice walking in my dress and heels (hat went flying) and though I bounced up pretty quick (humiliation makes me agile) I’m finding my back and knee is now reminding me that I’m a middle-aged woman and middle age, butts and cement don’t work well together.  More later on in the week….I promise.

I need/want a new hat.

I’m planning on wearing my 1895 Walking Suit to a Christmas Brunch with Victorian at Heart.  But, I’m not in love with my hat.  I have this.


I think I want this…

Isn’t this way more than blah.

I have everything I need (except the fusible web) and may be a few more feathers and flowers.  I’ll dismantle the old hat and use some of its parts.  Think I can get it done by Sunday.  Shop for the web today.  Cut it all out Tuesday.  Do the sewing parts of the assembly Wednesday and the glueing parts Thursday.  Friday I’d run to the store and buy more feathers and flowers and Saturday, decorate.  Too ambitious?  Hmmm.  I really want/need a new hat….

My first photo shoot with Lady A

People seem to be liking the work of the warm and wonderful Lady A and I now have permission to use her likeness here so I thought I would do a post of our first photo shoot.

We had gone to Maple Grove Tea House which is in a house that was built on the river in 1866 for a Captain Kennedy.  It is quite small with a few rooms made up to look like the home may have looked in its day.  It’s real draw is having tea on the veranda and walking in the gardens surrounding it.

Lady A in her lovely purple ensemble…in the interior of Kennedy House

I love the beading on her dress! And I simply must make a bustle dress one day!

Lady A looking all lovely and put together and I look like my maid either drinks or hates me.

We must do that shoot again.  Next time I will do it with the aid of an iron and a mirror!

Back view of Lady A’s dress

The white gown is also Lady A’s work.  It is a regency style dress.  It is worn by a co-worker who is totally not into sewing or even looking at this stuff but she is a trooper and went along with us-into public no less!  This mystery lady is a bit shy.  Coming out with us was pushing her comfort levels some.  I will spare her dignity and not post pictures of her from the front but I thought she looked gorgeous.  You will just have to take my word for it!