Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Stashing or hoarding?

Today’s question is something that has been bothering me a lot this vacation.  I am busy taking apart my sewing room shelves and carrying everything on them down to the basement for storage. I’m making a real guest room of my sewing room and reorganizing everything that was in both my sewing/guest room and my office/study area. I need a guest room for my children and grandchildren to have somewhere set up for when they come to visit rather than having to scramble to unfold the futon every time.  My sewing machine will most likely end up in my office or against one wall in the guest room so I can use it, but the fabric stash will have to come up from storage one piece at a time.

So the question is: when you’re a hobbyist, where is the line between stashing and collecting fabric or yarn or hobby supplies and hoarding? Like many people, I watch the shows on hoarders and though my home is full and definitely qualifies for the title “cluttered’, there aren’t the piles of stuff heaped on every surface that make it impossible to use the rooms or to even walk through the house. The sewing room gets messy when I’m working on a project, but everything was put away on shelves and in bins beneath my cutting table besides a few things that were on the floor waiting to be put away properly. I’ve been told by other people I know that sew that my stash is very small compared to theirs.

Perhaps it’s the size of the storage you have available that dictates if it’s good or bad in terms of stash or hoarding?  I have heard some very creative ways of hiding the stash from husbands, mine knows the full extent of my fabric and yarn so that isn't necessary with me.
Contents of one shelving unit stacked in the corner

I think of hoarders as:

1. Unable to throw away even their trash/garbage.

2. Unable to get rid of anything they’ve ever owned.

3. Shopping compulsively but rarely even using what they buy.

4. Creating an unsafe environment in the house through not being able to walk through the hallways and such.

5. Psychologically at need for the things to substitute for something else in their life or a traumatic experience that has not been dealt with as of yet.

I don’t think that I’m any of those things, though I do have extra stuff and clutter that I am slowly working through. I donate things to goodwill about 3 or 4 times a year so it's not that I can't get rid of anything.  I was happy with my sewing room being full of wonderful fabric, but moving and going through it all is really difficult. My organizational skills need improvement.
My "Civil War" closet

So as I go through my fabric stash while taking it off the shelves to move the shelves to the basement, I see fabric that I have kept that I might not ever use, but I don't know if I will or not.   At some point I will be finished with school (again) and have more time to sew.  But what to do with it all now?  I don’t want to just donate it to goodwill or throw it away when there is someone that might be able to make good use of it.

I realize that I might never live long enough to use up all of the dress sized pieces of fabric that I have purchased, especially since with being in school, my Civil War dress production has fallen to just a few a year, and I really don’t have the time to reenact, either. I have piles of beautiful cottons, wools, and silks, just waiting for me to turn them into beautiful gowns. Each year I sell the overage in my closet at a reenactor's consignment store so I have more room for the new ones I have created. They sell really well because they're made from really nice fabric and use period construction techniques, but I don't make a profit from selling them, I just get about what I have in them in terms of fabric cost.  I enjoy making them, it's a lot of fun for me, and I figure any loss is entertainment value.

So, gentle readers, where is that line between stashing and hoarding, specifically fabric?  I'd really love to know!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Enjoy your shopping. :)

In honor of the greatest of all retail holidays, Christmas (or Xmas for us lazy typists) here is a bit of historical factual information for you...
I. When was Jesus born?
A. Popular myth puts his birth on December 25th in the year 1 C.E.

B. The New Testament gives no date or year for Jesus’ birth. The earliest gospel – St. Mark’s, written about 65 CE – begins with the baptism of an adult Jesus. This suggests that the earliest Christians lacked interest in or knowledge of Jesus’ birthdate.

C. The year of Jesus birth was determined by Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian monk, “abbot of a Roman monastery. His calculation went as follows:

a. In the Roman, pre-Christian era, years were counted from ab urbe condita (“the founding of the City” [Rome]). Thus 1 AUC signifies the year Rome was founded, 5 AUC signifies the 5th year of Rome’s reign, etc.

b. Dionysius received a tradition that the Roman emperor Augustus reigned 43 years, and was followed by the emperor Tiberius.

c. Luke 3:1,23 indicates that when Jesus turned 30 years old, it was the 15th year of Tiberius reign.

d. If Jesus was 30 years old in Tiberius’ reign, then he lived 15 years under Augustus (placing Jesus birth in Augustus’ 28th year of reign).

e. Augustus took power in 727 AUC. Therefore, Dionysius put Jesus birth in 754 AUC.

f. However, Luke 1:5 places Jesus’ birth in the days of Herod, and Herod died in 750 AUC – four years before the year in which Dionysius places Jesus birth.

D. Joseph A. Fitzmyer – Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America, member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and former president of the Catholic Biblical Association – writing in the Catholic Church’s official commentary on the New Testament[1], writes about the date of Jesus’ birth, “Though the year [of Jesus birth is not reckoned with certainty, the birth did not occur in AD 1. The Christian era, supposed to have its starting point in the year of Jesus birth, is based on a miscalculation introduced ca. 533 by Dionysius Exiguus.”

E. The DePascha Computus, an anonymous document believed to have been written in North Africa around 243 CE, placed Jesus birth on March 28. Clement, a bishop of Alexandria (d. ca. 215 CE), thought Jesus was born on November 18. Based on historical records, Fitzmyer guesses that Jesus birth occurred on September 11, 3 BCE.

II. How Did Christmas Come to Be Celebrated on December 25?

A. Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25. During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the weeklong celebration. The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.” Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.

B. The ancient Greek writer poet and historian Lucian (in his dialogue entitled Saturnalia) describes the festival’s observance in his time. In addition to human sacrifice, he mentions these customs: widespread intoxication; going from house to house while singing naked; rape and other sexual license; and consuming human-shaped biscuits (still produced in some English and most German bakeries during the Christmas season).

C. In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.[2]

D. The problem was that there was nothing intrinsically Christian about Saturnalia. To remedy this, these Christian leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.

E. Christians had little success, however, refining the practices of Saturnalia. As Stephen Nissenbaum, professor history at the University of Massachussetts, Amherst, writes, “In return for ensuring massive observance of the anniversary of the Savior’s birth by assigning it to this resonant date, the Church for its part tacitly agreed to allow the holiday to be celebrated more or less the way it had always been.” The earliest Christmas holidays were celebrated by drinking, sexual indulgence, singing naked in the streets (a precursor of modern caroling), etc.

F. The Reverend Increase Mather of Boston observed in 1687 that “the early Christians who first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens’ Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian ones.”[3] Because of its known pagan origin, Christmas was banned by the Puritans and its observance was illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681.[4] However, Christmas was and still is celebrated by most Christians.

G. Some of the most depraved customs of the Saturnalia carnival were intentionally revived by the Catholic Church in 1466 when Pope Paul II, for the amusement of his Roman citizens, forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city. An eyewitness account reports, “Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators. They ran… amid Rome’s taunting shrieks and peals of laughter, while the Holy Father stood upon a richly ornamented balcony and laughed heartily.”[5]

H. As part of the Saturnalia carnival throughout the 18th and 19th centuries CE, rabbis of the ghetto in Rome were forced to wear clownish outfits and march through the city streets to the jeers of the crowd, pelted by a variety of missiles. When the Jewish community of Rome sent a petition in1836 to Pope Gregory XVI begging him to stop the annual Saturnalia abuse of the Jewish community, he responded, “It is not opportune to make any innovation.”[6] On December 25, 1881, Christian leaders whipped the Polish masses into Antisemitic frenzies that led to riots across the country. In Warsaw 12 Jews were brutally murdered, huge numbers maimed, and many Jewish women were raped. Two million rubles worth of property was destroyed.
III. The Origins of Christmas Customs

A. The Origin of Christmas Tree
Just as early Christians recruited Roman pagans by associating Christmas with the Saturnalia, so too worshippers of the Asheira cult and its offshoots were recruited by the Church sanctioning “Christmas Trees”.[7] Pagans had long worshipped trees in the forest, or brought them into their homes and decorated them, and this observance was adopted and painted with a Christian veneer by the Church.
B. The Origin of Mistletoe
Norse mythology recounts how the god Balder was killed using a mistletoe arrow by his rival god Hoder while fighting for the female Nanna. Druid rituals use mistletoe to poison their human sacrificial victim.[8] The Christian custom of “kissing under the mistletoe” is a later synthesis of the sexual license of Saturnalia with the Druidic sacrificial cult.[9]

C. The Origin of Christmas Presents
In pre-Christian Rome, the emperors compelled their most despised citizens to bring offerings and gifts during the Saturnalia (in December) and Kalends (in January). Later, this ritual expanded to include gift-giving among the general populace. The Catholic Church gave this custom a Christian flavor by re-rooting it in the supposed gift-giving of Saint Nicholas (see below).[10]
D. The Origin of Santa Claus

a. Nicholas was born in Parara, Turkey in 270 CE and later became Bishop of Myra. He died in 345 CE on December 6th. He was only named a saint in the 19th century.

b. Nicholas was among the most senior bishops who convened the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE and created the New Testament. The text they produced portrayed Jews as “the children of the devil”[11] who sentenced Jesus to death.

c. In 1087, a group of sailors who idolized Nicholas moved his bones from Turkey to a sanctuary in Bari, Italy. There Nicholas supplanted a female boon-giving deity called The Grandmother, or Pasqua Epiphania, who used to fill the children's stockings with her gifts. The Grandmother was ousted from her shrine at Bari, which became the center of the Nicholas cult. Members of this group gave each other gifts during a pageant they conducted annually on the anniversary of Nicholas’ death, December 6.

d. The Nicholas cult spread north until it was adopted by German and Celtic pagans. These groups worshipped a pantheon led by Woden –their chief god and the father of Thor, Balder, and Tiw. Woden had a long, white beard and rode a horse through the heavens one evening each Autumn. When Nicholas merged with Woden, he shed his Mediterranean appearance, grew a beard, mounted a flying horse, rescheduled his flight for December, and donned heavy winter clothing.

e. In a bid for pagan adherents in Northern Europe, the Catholic Church adopted the Nicholas cult and taught that he did (and they should) distribute gifts on December 25th instead of December 6th.

f. In 1809, the novelist Washington Irving (most famous his The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle) wrote a satire of Dutch culture entitled Knickerbocker History. The satire refers several times to the white bearded, flying-horse riding Saint Nicholas using his Dutch name, Santa Claus.

g. Dr. Clement Moore, a professor at Union Seminary, read Knickerbocker History, and in 1822 he published a poem based on the character Santa Claus: “Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in the hope that Saint Nicholas soon would be there…” Moore innovated by portraying a Santa with eight reindeer who descended through chimneys.

h. The Bavarian illustrator Thomas Nast almost completed the modern picture of Santa Claus. From 1862 through 1886, based on Moore’s poem, Nast drew more than 2,200 cartoon images of Santa for Harper’s Weekly. Before Nast, Saint Nicholas had been pictured as everything from a stern looking bishop to a gnome-like figure in a frock. Nast also gave Santa a home at the North Pole, his workshop filled with elves, and his list of the good and bad children of the world. All Santa was missing was his red outfit.

i. In 1931, the Coca Cola Corporation contracted the Swedish commercial artist Haddon Sundblom to create a coke-drinking Santa. Sundblom modeled his Santa on his friend Lou Prentice, chosen for his cheerful, chubby face. The corporation insisted that Santa’s fur-trimmed suit be bright, Coca Cola red. And Santa was born – a blend of Christian crusader, pagan god, and commercial idol.

IV. The Christmas Challenge
· Christmas has always been a holiday celebrated carelessly. For millennia, pagans, Christians, and even Jews have been swept away in the season’s festivities, and very few people ever pause to consider the celebration’s intrinsic meaning, history, or origins.
· Christmas celebrates the birth of the Christian god who came to rescue mankind from the “curse of the Torah.” It is a 24-hour declaration that Judaism is no longer valid.
· Christmas is a lie. There is no Christian church with a tradition that Jesus was really born on December 25th.
· December 25 is a day on which Jews have been shamed, tortured, and murdered.

.Many of the most popular Christmas customs – including Christmas trees, mistletoe, Christmas presents, and Santa Claus – are modern incarnations of the most depraved pagan rituals ever practiced on earth.

Many who are excitedly preparing for their Christmas celebrations would prefer not knowing about the holiday’s real significance. If they do know the history, they often object that their celebration has nothing to do with the holiday’s monstrous history and meaning. “We are just having fun.”

Imagine that between 1933-45, the Nazi regime celebrated Adolf Hitler’s birthday – April 20 – as a holiday. Imagine that they named the day, “Hitlerday,” and observed the day with feasting, drunkenness, gift-giving, and various pagan practices. Imagine that on that day, Jews were historically subject to perverse tortures and abuse, and that this continued for centuries.

Now, imagine that your great-great-great-grandchildren were about to celebrate Hitlerday. April 20th arrived. They had long forgotten about Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen. They had never heard of gas chambers or death marches. They had purchased champagne and caviar, and were about to begin the party, when someone reminded them of the day’s real history and their ancestors’ agony. Imagine that they initially objected, “We aren’t celebrating the Holocaust; we’re just having a little Hitlerday party.” If you could travel forward in time and meet them; if you could say a few words to them, what would you advise them to do on Hitlerday?

On December 25, 1941, Julius Streicher, one of the most vicious of Hitler’s assistants, celebrated Christmas by penning the following editorial in his rabidly Antisemitic newspaper, Der Stuermer:

If one really wants to put an end to the continued prospering of this curse from heaven that is the Jewish blood, there is only one way to do it: to eradicate this people, this Satan’s son, root and branch.

It was an appropriate thought for the day. This Christmas, how will we celebrate?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day , legal holiday in the U.S., first celebrated in early colonial times in New England. The actual origin, however, is probably the harvest festivals that are traditional in many parts of the world Festivals and Feasts. After the first harvest was completed by the Plymouth colonists in 1621, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer, shared by all the colonists and neighboring Native Americans. The Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock held their Thanksgiving in 1621 as a three day "thank you" celebration to the leaders of the Wampanoag Indian tribe and their families for teaching them the survival skills they needed to make it in the New World. It was their good fortune that the tradition of the Wampanoags was to treat any visitor to their homes with a share of whatever food the family had, even if supplies were low. It was also an amazing stroke of luck that one of the Wampanoag, Tisquantum or Squanto, had become close friends with a British explorer, John Weymouth, and had learned the Pilgrim's language in his travels to England with Weymouth.

After the first New England Thanksgiving the custom spread throughout the colonies, but each region chose its own date. In 1789 George Washington, the first president of the United States, proclaimed November 26 a day of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving day continued to be celebrated in the United States on different days in different states until Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book, decided to do something about it. For more than 30 years she wrote letters to the governors and presidents asking them to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday.

Finally, in 1863, President Lincoln issued a White House proclamation calling on the "whole American people" wherever they lived to unite "with one heart and one voice" in observing a special day of thanksgiving. Setting apart the last Thursday of November for the purpose, the President urged prayers in the churches and in the homes to "implore the interposition of the almighty had to heal the wounds of the nations and to restore full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and union." He also states that they express heartfelt thanks for the "blessing of fruitful fields and healthful skies."

In 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt advanced Thanksgiving Day one week. However, since some states used the new date and others the old, it was changed again 2 years later. Thanksgiving Day is now celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

The first formal celebration of Thanksgiving in North America was held by an English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who attempted to establish an English settlement on Baffin Island, after failing to discover a northern passage to the Orient in 1576. Canada established the second Monday in October as a national holiday, "a day of general thanksgiving," in 1957.

In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday.

Lets not forget too in all of the Pilgrim/Indian togetherness around this time of year how the Colonists and then the Americans massacred most of the natives, introduced diseases (sometimes purposefully) to kill off whole villages, and drove the few remaining to reservations to live lives of poverty and desparation, even after the Native Americans were good enough to teach them how to survive and prosper.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Where's the tucker and other Gettysburg clothing

Sammy, the nurse cat.  All the time I was sick last night,
Sammy slept with me and stayed with me. 
He even kept my place warm when I had to get up. :)
This is our only boy cat, Sammy. It's amazing to me how the cats knew when I was sick last week and he especially stayed with me and snuggled and made me feel better.  He loves sleeping under the covers with me on cold winter nights, and spoons with me with his head on my pillow.  He got tired of going with me to and from the bathroom all night when I was sick so he stayed in bed one time to wait for me to come back and I managed to get a picture of him.

Ball gown bodice. 
This is a picture of an 1860's garment in the collection at the Gettysburg National Military Park. All of the items here are from the collection and are shown with permission.  There is a ball gown bodice, a day bodice/blouse, and a skirt. The day bodice was more like a blouse that would be tucked into the skirt, and contained insets of red ribbon with cutword in both the day bodice and the skirt. The fabric is silk, the lining seems to be polished cotton, and the stays in the bodice seem to be wooden. I didn't want to take the bodice completely off of the carry board, but wanted to examine it.  It's obviously lying on it's front side, which has only the bertha just as seen on the back.  The bertha is one thickness of fabric with black ribbon attached by hand to the outside edge, there is an additional bias stripe of the fabric that is turned under and sewn right in the middle of the bertha to add interest. 

Ball Gown bodice interior
This view shows the inside of the bodiice.  There isn't any boning on the outsides of the opening, and there is only one line of piping on the outside, finished the usual 1860's way by cutting out the extra fabric, turning it under, and sewing it by hand.  You'll notice that the sleeves are of the same silk fabric as the dress, and that there is no tucker. 

Men's work shirt 1
 This men's shirt might be a bit later than civil war, though I did not go look up the specifics of the individuall item.  This shirt is made of a homespun type heavy cotton fabric (it would be very hot for the summer time!) but what I found most interesting is how the portion of the shirt that was intended to be tucked in was made of a different fabric.  If the main fabric was expensive or the seamstress didn't have enough, adding this less expensive fabric to the bottom is a perfect way to save on fabric.

Mens work shirt inside back
 This shows the bottom in the back with yet another fabric added to the bottom tail.  The inside lining which goes from the neckline to about the waist is of the back bottom fabric.  I love the ingenuity of the women in the era!  Many original garments are pieced together when the sewists ran out of fabric.  The buttons on the shirt are milk glass.

Mens shirt
This men's shirt was made of a cotton calico fabric which is very subdued.  If I had seen this fabric in the fabric store, I might not have thought it was Civil War era.  I am thinking this might have been a dressier shirt because of the size of the cuffs, and of course, civil war era cuff buttons are on the inside side of the wrist with the buttons up almost at the seam line where the cuffs are attached to the sleeve.

Pin cushion made of a piece of a linsey-woolsy overshot throw
This pin cushion is made from a piece of an overshot coverlet, the pattern is snowball, and the orange threads are wool whereas the background threads are linen.  I loved weaving overshot when I had my loom up and running.  It's done on a linen warp of threads of about half the weight of the pattern, two shuttles are used, one for the background (tabby) and one for the pattern threads.

This drawstring bag caught my interest. 
 The threads on the bag look to be shiny, I thought it looked like mercerized cotton but I don't believe that process had been patented until after the war.  The bag is crocheted, but look at how tiny the thread and the stitches are...the bags that the sutlers have available at events are usually made of very thick threads with large stitching, not at all like the examples of extant bags that I've seen.

Rack of large textiles
While i had my camera in my hand I took some pictures around the collection storage room in Gettysburg.  This is a textile rack.  the textiles are lovingly stored rolled in acid free fabric and rolled so that the stitches in the fabric and in the embroidery are not stressed.  There are coverlets, sheets, towels, quilts, and a few flags on the rack.

This is just one isle of artifact storage, on the right are the boxes of "relic material" and on the right are the oddly shaped items and items that have not been assigned a storage drawer yet in the other areas of the storage area.  There are several aisles of boxes of relic and archaeological material that are presently being photographed to add digital images to the museum records.  There's always something to do on my volunteer days, and while I have the larger project of the photographic records to do, sometimes there are interesting other projects that come up.

This is one section of the artillery projectile storage.  Paul the curator has spent a lot of time and effort sorting and organizing and labeling the shelves.  Many of them still need digital pictures taken and added to the record.  I'm helping to get the images taken, and everything done to add them to the record.  It's a big job but I enjoy what I'm doing every day that I'm able to come in.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Make new friends, and keep the old....

Star of Bethlehem Quilt square done in Cross stitch on punched paper.
 synchronicity (ˌsɪnkrəˈnɪsɪtɪ)

— n
an apparently meaningful coincidence in time of two or more similar or identical events that are causally unrelated

[C20: coined by Carl Jung from synchronic + -ity ]

Cow sampler made while commuting to Chicago every week.
 This one is one of my favorites! When I first started flying, we went to great small towns that were in rural areas and I loved the cow theme. I enjoyed working on this one while sitting in my commuter apartment on reserve while I was based in Chicago. 

 I've always believed that people come into your life (or you into theirs) so that you can learn from them or teach them something important, sometimes within the same chance meeting. There are no insignificant coincidences in life.  I treasure my old friends but a new friend has entered my life that made me realize that I have spent a lot of time away from doing stitchery.  I've enjoyed knitting, spinning, sewing, quilting, and other pursuits of fibery things, but I have always enjoyed traditional counted cross stitch, especially samplers. 

Maryland sampler made for an old boyfriend.  He said:
 "I don't want it, I'm not into that."  That's why I have it.

I worked a few "country" themed items when I bought my first house and wanted it to be very warm and homey and to feel like a country place. 
Country Sampler, love the cats!

I found this neat patriotic sampler in a book at a long
gone stitchery shop in Gettysburg in the late 80's.

I am thankful for new friends but I always cherish the old, we had a song in Girl Scouts that we used to sing all the time "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." and that is surely the truth. These samplers are like old friends, and my appreciation of the enjoyment I had while making them is brought to me by a new friend.

Southern Sampler

Mid-Atlantic Sampler

One of only two pieces finished since
moving to Maryland.  I love this sampler. I finished it when I had just moved to Maryland full time and it will always remind me of going out and exploring to find stitchery shops and places to express myself creatively. It hangs in my upstairs hallway

Sun and Moon sampler
Primative house and tree sampler

Quilting sampler which brings together my love
of quilting patterns and stitchery
I used to live in Denver and work out of Chicago and then Baltimore, so I did a lot of stitching on the airplane while making my way to work each week. After I moved to Baltimore, I fell out of the habit of spending time stitching and stopped making cross stitch designs. I have given many away over the years and have a few unfinished ones packed away somewhere.

Salt glaze miniature shelf

I love salt glaze pottery and have collected it for years.  My daughter spotted an example of this project when we were walking through "The Stitching Post" which is a local stitchery shop and thought it would be perfect for me to do.  I immediately bought the book and the frame and stitched the project which now sits in my kitchen with my miniature salt glaze items.  Thanks, Jenn, I think of you whenever I look at this. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Welcome back to the mainland!

I am absolutely overjoyed to report that Jenn, Michael, and the kids are now on the mainland! Though I will thoroughly miss Hawaii, the beauty, the food, and the places I got used to especially during the month I spent there during Aidan's birth and infancy and will miss having ready access to Fabric Mart and the Soap Factory, I am happy to report that they will be far closer now and not require a long airplane ride to see them! They now live in North Carolina, a whole lot closer to us than Hawaii! Weekend trips are a whole lot more doable than getting back and forth to Hawaii.

The family came up to visit and to take the kids to the National Apple Harvest Festival which is the first two weekends of October every year just north of Gettysburg in Arendtsville, PA. It's huge and lots of fun. It was crisp and sunny and a perfect day for going to the festival. Michael had to take the kids' wagon apart to get it into our van so Grandpa and Michael are putting it back together with Aidan's help. I haven't been to the apple festival since Jenn and Jon were about waist high, and I will say that I truly enjoyed it! A good time was had by all.

The festival has lots of arts and crafts and food and fun activities for the children. Here the boys are in a huge pile of hay that is designed for them to throw, jump in and enjoy.

Collin didn't understand right at first that you could throw and play with the hay, but he quickly figured it all out. (Ok, so I covered them both in hay a few was so much fun!)
Not only was the hay fun to throw at your own brother, it was fun to throw at the other kids that were in the hay play area. They also had a disappointingly small petting zoo at the festival, though we'd gone to the larger one at Baugher's orchard the day before so the kids got to see the animals there out of cages and able to be touched and petted.
The kids also enjoyed the large historic steam engine and tractor displays near where we ate the lunch that we'd brought with us, and later in the day Aidan got to walk through the car show area with Dad and Grandpa while Mom and Grandma shared a pumpkin funnel cake with Collin.
Not only was the wagon a fantastic idea for putting the kids into when they got tired of walking (or we got tired of carrying them), but it also helped carry the lunches and diaper bag plus the few items of arts and crafts that we found while we were there.
The vendors are not supposed to sell anything commercially made though some do, the majority of the items available are hand crafted. We found a couple of hand painted signs and some cat related figurines while we were looking around. Since we were there to spend time with the boys, we didn't even look through half of the booths that were there.
You can get an idea of how many people were at the festival by looking at the crowd in the picture as Michael and Mark waited for Aidan take a pony ride. Collin liked sitting on top of the fence to watch.
The festival is so large that people have to park in one of two farmer's fields and take the busses the festival provides to the site of the festival. That in itself was an adventure for the boys!
By now, Collin's shoes were off, it was getting close to the end of our day as the boys were starting to get really tired.
There's Jenn with her cool sunglasses on right after loading Aidan onto his pony. The car show area is right behind her. We both wore tie-die that day because we know how much Michael loves it! (NOT!)
Aidan looks like he's not sure if he likes the pony ride or not in this last picture, but most of the time as he came around he looked happy. We were off to the car shortly thereafter and the kids both slept all the way home. It was fun! We hope to repeat this in the future as the kids get older.

Long time no see

Yes, I know I haven't been blogging at all, and I apologize. I'm sure all of my blog followers have now deleted me because I haven't been posting. I do have an excuse, I have been in school. Starting the third week of August, I have been taking 9 credit hours and spending all of my time doing homework, studying, and trying to hold the rest of my life such as work and volunteering and activities together.

I haven't been sewing, knitting, or reenacting, I have put the rest of my life (besides work and the museum) on hold because my degree work is so important to me. In July and August, I took only two classes, but even then I realized that I needed to set up a study area so prior to Fall semester, I brought up a table and got my study desk set up. Here's Belle checking it out and making sure that everyone else knew that she was in charge by putting her scent all over the place.

Sam and Rose decided that the table was a good place to take a nap. I have spent many hours at that table and today I am studying for final exams (I'm on a study break now) so I thought I'd take a moment to blog.

Part of my strategy for my semester is to hit the studies really hard during the week so that I can spend time with hubby on the weekend. We happened upon this cat show at the Fairgrounds when coming home from taking some things to the dump. We decided spur of the moment to go in and we enjoyed seeing all of the cats. We walked through where the owners all have their cats and kittens in the other half of the room from the show area and we saw breeds we'd never seen except on tv or in our Cat Fancy magazine. (We still love and treasure our Moggy cats, no pure bred cats for us, our favorite breed is "rescued"!)

Prior to each judging the cats are brought out to the individual rings. The owners can just carry them all over the place without the cats being at all nervous, I suppose most of these animals have been shown all of their lives. We decided to watch one of the judging because the judge of the ring was so full of personality and had everyone laughing and enjoying his assessment of the cats in his division.
The show was mostly for pure bred cats, but there was a division for "housecats" and mixed breeds which I absolutely loved! Some shows even have agility courses for the cats to run, but this one did not.

Here's the judge playing with a Havana Brown cat using a feather. The judge was so much fun to watch, you could tell he was doing something he really enjoyed and the cats knew that he loved them, it was easy to tell. We stayed around for a little while watching the show and then went home to our own "champions".

One of the things I have done this semester has been to journal each week and I will try to carry that through and at least blog once a month. I usually forget to carry my camera when I go out, so I will have to be better about taking pictures to add to my blog. Thank you to my loyal followers, I'll really make an effort to get back on track.

Friday, June 25, 2010

One more house project finally finished.

The latest nightmare, oops, I mean house project was to take the wall paper off the walls in my office. It was starting to come off the wall and looking a bit shabby so it needed to come down. Problem was, the people that owned the house had put wallpaper on the bottom of the wall and it was so very difficult to get off, besides the valuted ceilings being so darn high that it made it difficult to get it all down. I had to do a wall at a time so that I could move the furniture off the wall, strip, paint, and then replace the furniture. I ended up completely changing around the whole room and doing a lot of cleaning.

I had to stack my yarn stash drawers...but to the left of the drawer units is where the two colors I painted come together. The colors are pretty close so you can't really see the difference. I painted two walls with the darker and two with the lighter to try to do somewhat of a highlight.

What a totaly nightmare it was to move my desk. I had to take it all apart and I still have bins and bins of things to go through . It was worth it, though, I love the desk being over near the light of the window and now I can see what's going on out the door to the room and down the hall.
I had tons of photographs from the shelf on the stairway that ended up on shelves on the walls in the office. I staggered them so that the highest shelf was closer to where the cats can get on the high dresser. Belle is crazy and jumps onto things so I have to keep that in mind when I plan where to put things.

I made some half curtains to go over the window in front of the printer to keep a bit of the sunlight out of the room. It gets really hot in the mornings. The fabric was from my stash and I am pretty sure it was left over from Jenn's grandmother's home when she passed away. Sammy is sleeping on top of the printer. He looks so very uncomfortable but he still sleeps up there.

Two Historic Chicago Buildings

I attended United's Purser Recurring training last week in Chicago. Our hotel was the Historic Palmer house, always a pleasure to be there. It was built and opened just 13 days before the great chicago fire of 1871, and of course, burned in the fire. Parker Palmer built it as a wedding gift to his bride, and of course, rebuilt the hotel after the fire. This is the gilt medallion on the ceiling (one of two) in the Empire Ballroom, where most of our meetings and presentations were located. This hotel was the first building put on the historic preservation list, it was also the first hotel with electric lighting, running water, elevators, and was rebuilt to be fireproof!

This is a detail from the ornate ceiling in the main lobby on the second floor. The lobby is absolutely beautiful and people were snapping pictures of it from all angles. The Hilton's website featuring the Palmer house does not do this beautiful place justice. The rooms are small as was the fashion of the time, but they are very comfortable and not too small.
The lighting fixtures are all original and have obviously been wired for electricity, they add to the beautiful surroundings in this magnificent place.
This is just one of the sides of the room in the Empire Ballroom. The Columbia College Percussion Ensamble was there and did a drumming presentation using galley equipment that was really fun. The mirrors along with the ebony wood and gold leaf was quite striking.
This is the lobby bar. There are comfy chairs scattered all about the lobby for people to lounge in and they are set up for conversation.

I absolutely was taken by the clock at the end of the lobby at the ceiling. It's actually carved into the marble of the ceiling, and it is absolutely beautiful.
Here's a close up of the clock which also shows more of the domes of the ceiling. The plaster work is raised and painted to accentuate the difference in colors from the background. I love this place!
We went to the Willis (used to be the Sears) tower and these pictures were taken from the windows of the room that we had dinner in.
All in all it was a great two days, we were delayed 2 hours getting home so I didn't get home until Midnight after being in the conference all day, but it was worth it. :)