Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stolen from another friend's blog:

"There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness"." When I saw this quote I knew that it was true! Those of us that do fiber hobbies know about having a stash that exceeds life expectancy! But isn't it fun? :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More pictures of Civil War Reenactments

These are some pictures which were forwarded from one of my friends in our reenactment unit (thank you very much, Linda!) of prior events. This one is me spinning some lovely wool at Steppingstone Museum, just a couple of weeks ago.

This is a favorite of mine, the two Sergeants sitting and discussing troop movements on the battle field...Mark and Bob. This one as well as the remainder of these pictures were taken at the Cedar Creek Reenactment held in October 2006.
This is a horrible shot but it's at Cedar Creek was quite chilly that weekend so as you can see, I'm wearing a sontag and bonnet and trying very hard to keep warm.
These are vaious battle scenes during the reenactment. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 20, 2007


The morning dawned dark and rainy and chilly as we got up and got ready to return to the Steppingstone museum. Lucikly the day turned into a beautiful and sunny one and warmed up significantly. This is a beautiful place, this is a view from the area in which our unit had camped, of the Susquehanna River near the Conowingo Dam.
The horses and people really enjoyed the battle, talking with the reenactors, and the period music and dance demonstrations. We hear that this event will not be held anymore due to politics between the state park and the farm museum. It will truly be a shame as this is a well attended and enjoyed event.
This is Mark's "Testudo, Fear the Turtle" (Maryland Fans will understand) stance with the river and the valley in the background.
Since it was so rainy and horrible this morning, I wore camp/work clothes today. I spent all day spinning some brown colored Blue Faced Leceister wool into a full bobbin of yarn today and finished plying it with yesterday's bobbin when we got home.
I thought this would be an interesting sight to the drivers as these cannons and limbers are pulled along the highway on their way home from the reenactment. I'm sure those that aren't familiar with what us living history people do will wonder why there are cannons on a trailer going down I-95.
After we left, we drove into beautiful downtown Havre de Grace for an early dinner. Last year after this event, Jonathan took us out to dinner at a great place along the water called MacGregors which we wanted to visit in commemeration of the first weekend event of our reenactment season. We were also missing Jon and talking about him.
This is a view off the deck from our table. The guy in the Blue Shirt was the one-man entertainment on the deck at MacGregors, he was quite good, the food was fantastic, and we really enjoyed ourselves. Thanks, Jon, for showing us this place!

Now say "AWWWWWWW"

This adorable little guy certainly had me saying "awwwww" when I first saw him. His name is "Mason" and he's our latest and newest Granddog. He's Matthew's and he's an Australian Shepherd. He looks like he's going to have personality plus! AWWWWWWWWWW!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Steppingstone Saturday

This weekend was our Civil War reenactment unit's first weekend event of the season at the Steppingstone Farm Museum of Susquehana State park in Havre de Grace, Maryland.
It was a long and cold weekend and we have really missed each other! We're a family orientated unit and have kids and horses and civilians and cavalry and dismounted calvary and we really enjoy the living history teaching as well as the social aspect of our unit.
We had so much fun today talking, I got to spin and wear a corset and hoops and watch the troopers play Civil War and talk and play with the kids and get nuzzles from the horses. Bobby Lee the horse spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out if anything on my hat was edible!
We did, however, really miss Jon at this reenactment, it was the first one that he attended with us last year. We laughed and joked and really enjoyed each other.
We brought Abigail home with us rather than spend a cold and wet rainy night in our tent...we're spending the night at home. We're having a wonderful time talking and telling stories and laughing and bonding.
We even decided to get together a group of people and go to Dixie Days in 2 weeks after we liberate Jon from his Army base...we'll be observers at the reenactment but we all thought Jon would enjoy it so we're going. :)
Tomorrow is another day to get into period clothing again and have another battle and talk with more spectators. Then it's back to 2007 and the modern world.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Another Whirlwind Saturday

I am a part time volunteer at the Carrol County Farm Museum as a spinster and weaver and really enjoy the Historian and Education Director there, Pat. She is a master gardner and told me about a plant and herb market going on yesterday and today up in Lancaster, PA. Mark was out of town yesterday, so I waited for him to come home for a road trip today. Lancaster is only about an hour and a half which is really not bad at all, besides, it is a beautiful drive through mostly rural farmland. We got up early and hit the road heading North.
The plant faire was held at the Landis Valley Museum which is a wonderful Living history farm complete with animals and buildings, artisans, and an extensive garden collection. Every year they have this herb and flower show with all kinds of vendors and it was very well attended, that's for sure. There was a small admission fee, but we more than saved enough on the plants we bought to pay for admission!

We spent several hours at the market looking through the various plants that we were considering for our gardens at home. I got quite a few varieties of plants for the front yard gardens as well as 8 German Bearded Iris plants of very unusual color and types for a new garden area that I'm planning just for them off to the side of one of the existing garden. These and the Siberian Iris are my absolutely favorite flowers and I've had Bearded Iris' as long as I've owned any land to put them in but hadn't had any since moving into this house so it was time! We also got some herbs to go in the deck planters for cooking and drying. The selection was incredible and the prices fantastic.
We also walked around and looked at the animals, the buildings, and of course, you know I had to take a picture of the sheep. There were all kinds of babies and I think some of them were Tunis sheep, they came over to the fence and got their ears and faces scratched. Tunis are very friendly with red faces and just slightly oatmeal tinged white colored wool.
Then we went to the PA Fabric outlet and believe it or not, all I bought, even with a 50% off coupon was a roll of hem tape for my period dresses for 99 cents! Mark took a shortcut and we happened upon a junk shop that we stopped at that was across from this field, one of many being plowed today with horses by Amish and Mennonite farmers. We ended up, quite accidentally, in Intercourse.
Now, anyone that knows anything about quilts and fabric and Pennsylvania knows that Intercourse is a very dangerous place for a person as addicted to fabric as I am. We stopped and looked around and found some beautiful reproduction Civil War fabrics at The Old Country Store Right on Main street, and after noticing the good prices compared to my usual Gettysburg shop, I got a bit. We saw these kids in the back of an Amish buggy right outside the fabric shop in the middle of town. We just happened upon and had supper at a family style place called Stoltzfus Family Farm which is not too far outside Lancaster near Bird In Hand. It was great! Then it was off to home to plant as many of our new plants as we could before the storm that was brewing came to our neighborhood.

Garden Progress

The garden in the front of our house has been a major project this spring since the excavation last fall of the water pipes that ran under the entire front yard and even our walk and steps. Everything but a few hardy plants was disrupted or lost so we've been working hard to put it all in order, only beteter. This part of the garden is where our pet Gator lurks, and I've done my best to fill his area with low to the ground plants that will spread during the growing season to hide him a little bit more effectively.
After we left the Landis Valley Plant Faire, we had a bunch of new inhabitants for our garden which is a problem place because it gets very hot for a few hours during the afternoon in the summer, but mostly is part to total shade. This area is on the side of the same tree as the Gator Garden but gets even less sun so the plants I chose for that area are mostly hostas and ginger and full shade plants.
This area had some hardy Black Eyed Susans and a few Echinacea or cone flowers but the grass that they put back into this area is overrunning them. I planted some new plants today and it'll get mulched tomorrow. This area gets very sunny and hot for part of the day, hopefully the Dianthus plants I bought will do well here.
This little plant is in a very special place. This is a millstone that came from Mark's grandfather's farm in Rock Island. It is probably 3 or 4 generations old, and when Grandpa passed away in his 90's he had it as an ornament in the front of his house. We asked if we could have it for our garden and Mark's mom generously agreed. So we're using it as a planter in the corner of the garden. I think this might be one of my favorite spots of all. :)

I finally finished this one

You would have thought I was never going to finish this dress, in fact, I have finished 3 others since I started making this one. For some reason, it just never thrilled me once I got it put together so it's been slung over the door to my sewing room for all this time awaiting buttonholes and buttons. I'd started a couple of "mud dresses" of cheap fabric to wear to totally outdoor events when it rains and the weather is horrible and this is one of them.
I added a collar and it'll have a broach when I wear it for dressier wear, and with a ribbon belt, it seemed to "clean up" all right but it's still too light colored and white for my liking. It was also my first experiment with adding sleeve jockeys.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

It's the people that still make it fun

This picture was taken last week somewhere between Baltimore and Los Angeles. Despite the huge pay cuts, the long hours, the dirty working conditions, the societial issues with the folks we run into, I still love my job. It's the people that I work with that make it all worthwhile. These are Pam and Joseph with me, and between us we have about 70 or so years of experience. I enjoy a great many of the passengers too but the crews are what make the trips really fun. We had a Las Vegas layover and though I couldn't join Pam and Joe for dinner as my allergies were really acting up and I went to bed, there will be another time that we'll enjoy each other's company. Thanks you two!

MSWF: Sunday Edition

I had no intention of going back to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this morning, but as we were going to bed last night, Mark mentioned that I probably should take the fleeces that were still in my basement from long ago to the Woolen Mill at the festival (they send a trailer to bring back wool to be processed at their mill in Michigan so it saves me a bunch on shipping). So the fact that I went back is totally Mark's fault. We did get the Ronmey fleeces to the processor, we had about 25 pounds which will be made into batting for quilts and comforters as well as roving to spin. I have one queen size quilt started that will receive one of the woolen batts as it's stuffing. I also had a couple of crib quilt batts made and another one for our never know when you're going to need a new quilt for someone, you know. Good thing Jenn and Michael are moving to Hawaii and they don't need a quilt with a woolen batt for a long time!

These corriedales are some of the sheep that we saw in the barns as we were walking around. We ate the wonderful festival food that we look forward to every year, lamb sandwiches, lamb burgers, sheep pitas, funnel cakes, fresh lemon and limeade.yummy!
While we were eating, we just happened to run into Liz and Vee, much to my absolute delight! I didn't expect to see her at all, much less Vee but I got to see them both! And then even better, we all went over and got to see Myrtle Dow of Black Pines sheep and her babies in the barn. Vee and I each bought a CVM fleece (I sent mine to be processed, it's variegated white, grey and white, 5.25 pounds....I'm thinking aran sweater). Myrtle raises Wenslydales, Teeswaters, Karakuls, and California Variegated Mutants and honestly she has the absolutely most beautiful, cleanest fleeces I've ever seen. I have one of her grey CVM's and a chocolate in my basement made up into roving and waiting to spin. I just need more time! Liz got to spend time with Risa who I looked for until we left but didn't run into. It's so nice to have spent time with my fiber friends and sheepies too. And please don't make me confess to the 2 new spindles that I'll be adding to my collection. :)

Gardening project...well, that's the plan

Last fall our front yard had to be completely torn apart to follow the pipes for water that come from the street to our house. The plumber had an excavator machine tear out all of our gardens so we've had to wait until things began to bloom in order to see what ended up coming back or not. These azaleas did come back, though one plant for the side of these didn't. These plants will have to be moved back or more plants added in back of them as they were replaced about 2-3 feet forward of where they used to be.
This plant was not within the perimeter of the damage so it's doing well. Today our agenda included a visit to Home Depot to buy a new lawnmower and some tools and seed, mulch, fertilizer, and miracid...we did manage to get what we need but the energy ran out so we'll be working on it later this week. We got a bit sidetracked going back to the Festival this morning.

The Annual Fiber Gluttony Fest: Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

Saturday Report: Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival...We arrived in a long line of cars at about 8:30 in the morning and the tee-shirt and festival items line was already over 100 people long! Mark and I took turns standing in the line as I had orders for a couple of dear friends until the vending area opened at 9 and we were able to go in. I got the shirts that I wanted as well as some adorable baby items for the grandbaby to be as well.
Before too long, Loraine called me to find out where I was, she and her delightful husband Ron and their boys had come to the fair. Simon, shown here with his very special fleece, is quite an accomplished fiber guy, he is a handspindler and makes wonderful yarn! He picked out this beautiful chocolate brown fleece that Mom allowed him to get at the fleece sale.
He is Simon again waiting with Mom to pay for his fleece. (And yes, if you must know, despite swearing that I wouldn't buy another raw fleece, I purchased a small Tunis fleece, a Grey Naturally colored Finn, and a Beautiful Cormo Cross that was nearly chocolate brown.) They are some beautiful fleeces that I hadn't seen before so I couldn't resist. We walked the fleeces out to McClellan's Frankenmuth Woolen Mills for them to wash and card the fleeces into roving. I've used this Mill before and I highly recommend their work. Simon's fleece will be sent back labeled appropritately and made into his favorite thin pencil-like roving.
We enjoyed the time with the boys, with our friends, and with the sheep but we left fairly early to go to Gettysburg. We got sidetracked in Emmitsburg where we visited a huge antique mall and found some great books about my dad's unit in WWII as well as a scallop punch for leather that looks like a miniature of the fabric scallop cutter that was used in Civil War clothing. I'm still looking for the scallop maker for fabric.

Jacksons Mill, newest dress, and playing catch up

I've been a definite hermit lately and haven't been blogging. I sincerely apologise to all my blog friends and family. I've been flying a full schedule lately and working hard on the business but I'll try to catch up. I stayed at home the weekend of Artillery School 2 weeks ago and did a bunch of sewing, more later on that.
2 weeks ago Mark and the guys and girls in our Reenactment unit that fire the Cannons went to a beautiful place to get more training and be certified in Civil War Era Artillery. The place that you see in these beautiful photographs that Mark took is called Jackson's Mill, West Virginia, and it is Thomas Jefferson (Stonewall) Jackson's boyhood home. It's an annual event for the unit's gunners and they really enjoy it.
The cabin is on the edge of a beautiful pond, Jackson's relatives owned the mill and this original cabin that sit on the property which is now on the campus of the 4-H center for the West Virginia University. It is also a living history center and has displays inside the buildings about flax to linen production as well as a great wheel and flax spinning wheel.
Our Unit, which is the 1st Maryland Cavalry renewed it's friendship with the 1st Maryland Infantry which hails from Connecticut. I had the pleasure of meeting these Gentlemen at Cedar Creek in Virginia last October on the battlefield after the battle on Saturday.
This dress was finished while Mark was away, it's got pink flowers and a pink trellis that is accentuated by the pink ribbon on the bodice and sleeves. I now have a few more cut out as well as some maternity cothing for Jennifer, but because I've been flying haven't been able to get much done in the sewing room.