Feb 25, 2014

1890's Costume Challenge - Petticoat

I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped for yesterday.  As usual, I  underestimated the labor involved.  Actually it's more a case of I didn't realize the petticoat has about 15 yards of ruffles, 10 of which also required a narrow hem.  The thought of basting and drawing up all those ruffles, not to mention turning that hem by hand made me kind of queasy.

10 +  yds. all hemmed nice an neat, ready to be gathered.
Then, I remembered that my New Home Sewing Machine, circa 1947, has a hem foot and ruffler attachment.  Unfortunately, the tension on it was totally messed up.  But it was definitely worth my time to try to fix it.  After a few minutes on Google and few more making adjustments, it was working again.  I had to wind the oddly sized bobbins on my modern machine, since the rubber bobbin wheel is rotted and I've never found a replacement of the right size, and it did take me about 15 minutes to get the ruffler set just right, but it was worth it. 

The really neat thing about this ruffler is that it has the ability to gather a ruffle and sew it simultaneously to an ungathered base fabric or apply an ungathered trim to the top of  the fabric you are gathering all in one step.

I don't trust my skills on this machine enough to try that yet, but I imagine back in the day this was an amazing time save.  I may try it out on my next petticoat.

Feb 24, 2014

1890's Costume Challenge Update

Apparently I'm not as good at multi-tasking as I hoped, which is why I've not managed an update before this, and why there are no pictures.  Still, better late than never.

So where do I stand? 

  • Corset- Not finished but wearable.  Top and bottom edges need to  be bound and it may or may not happen before Sat.
  • Bodice, Petticoat, and Corset cover- Cut out, will try to sew today.  My Singer 66 has some awesome attachments that would really help with these, but it isn't sew worthy yet.  Sigh....
  • Skirt- Bought the fabric on sale yesterday and will wash it today.
So much left to do and so little time. Looks like I'll be playing blog catch up when all is finished.  There will be pictures. 

Feb 18, 2014

1890's Costume Challenge

In exactly 11 days, I will be doing open hearth cooking at Burritt on the Mountain, which is not unusual, because I do it about twice a year.  I usually cook in the Meals house and wear my 1850's ensemble.  I look quite convincing in front of the hearth in my 1850's restored building.  

Photo by Eric Schultz, The Huntsville Times 

Then, in May 2011, the unimaginable happened.  The Meals house was jacked up, placed on a flat bed and driven very slowly across the green to the 1890's side of the Historic Park.  

Immediately after the move, the interpretation of the building was up in the air so I continued to cook in my 1850's get up.  Now it is officially interpreted as 1890's, and I feel out of place in my "old fashioned clothes". I've tried cooking in  other 1850's building, but I miss "my house".  So I am challenging myself to create a 1890's ensemble in time for the March 1st open hearth event.  

I have 11 days to draft, fit, cut and construct everything that won't carry over from my 1850's outfit.  That means I have to make a new corset, petticoats, skirt and bodice at the very least.  

I'm using Truly Victorian's TV 110 1880's corset pattern, which I made up before my last child was born.  Since my body hasn't bounced back, and may never bounce back, I'm going to cannibalize that corset for parts for the new one.  Luckily, I still have some quality corset coutille from that project so I can reuse the front busk section and back lacing sections thus saving a huge bit of time.  As of last night, I've adjusted my corset pattern to my new measurements, and I'm ready to make a mock up.

Things to do today
  • Check my stash for fabrics
  • Deconstruct the old 1880's corset
  • Cut out and construct a mock up for the new corset
  • Check for fit and be ready to cut and construct the final corset tomorrow.
  • Decide on skirt and bodice or dress pattern.

Feb 14, 2014


I couldn't have sung it better myself.  This nails our last 3 snow days.


BTW, I just checked out some of their other videos and they are hilarious.  Do not miss them.

Feb 11, 2014

Alabama Snowday

We just got our first snow of the year here in Northern Alabama.  Until now, we've had flurries, even a dusting, but no accumulation.

We got a whole inch of the white stuff.  School was cancelled and the town pretty much shut down.  Gotta love these southern "snowstorms".

So what do the kids want to do with their snowday?

1.  Introduce our cat Snow to her first snow.
Unfortunately for the kids, Snow wasn't interested. 
Once the door was opened, the sight of snow scared the beggezus out of Snow who clawed her way from my daughter's arms over her shoulder and made an insane and somewhat spastic dash up the stairs to hide.

Not willing to give up on the idea of introductions, my daughter settled for introducing Willow, our smaller and more docile cat, to the great white wonder.  She was hesitant, but didn't fight.

2.  Build a snowman. 

This fellow is a whopping 8 inches tall.

3.  Build his big brother.

4. Have a snow ball fight.
This was more of a dodge snowball fight since the kids had trouble making snowballs with the dry snow.  Of course Dad is a pro at these things and was having fun bombarding the troops.

5.  Drink hot cocoa with one giant marshmallow.
It amazes me that they make marshmallows even bigger than this.

Feb 7, 2014

Quick and Easy Creamy Turkey, Spinach and Onion Pasta Sauce

Here's a quick and easy recipe for those busy weeknights.  When I came up with this, I didn't have any Parmesan on hand.  Everyone at my house seemed to like it well enough without the Parmesan.  However, I think cheese would made it even better.

1 T Olive Oil
1 Onion (chopped fine)
1 lb Ground Turkey
1 Box Frozen Chopped Spinach
1 Can Cream of Onion Soup
1 C milk
2-3 Cloves Garlic (optional)
Parmesan Cheese (optional)
Nutmeg, Salt and Pepper (to taste)

  1. Saute onion in olive oil until tender.
  2. While onions are cooking, thaw chopped spinach in microwave.  If you don't like the texture of spinach or are trying to "hide" veggies in your kids food, cook the spinach in the microwave, then process the spinach, sauteed onions, and milk in the blender until absolutely smooth  while browning turkey in the pan, then proceed to step 5.
  3. Add turkey and brown.  
  4. Add thawed spinach and cook til most of the moisture has evaporated.
  5. Stir in cream of onion soup.
  6. Add milk (or milk, spinach, onion mixture).  Stir well and cook until heated through.
  7. Add Fresh grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve over pasta (bowties or penne are good), and top with Parmesan cheese.
This also makes a nice hot dip for bread or chips with or without the turkey.

Did you try this recipe?  Did you like it?  Hate it? Have a suggestion to make it better?  
If so leave me a message in the comments section and I'll share it here.

Feb 5, 2014

What's in the CSA box? Week 7 and 8 from Fall 2013

I'm playing catch up with weeks 7 and 8 of Doe Run Farms Fall 2013 CSA baskets.  

We still have carrots and beets in the fridge and sweet potatoes in the pantry, but our supply is dwindling and I am seriously missing all the super fresh veg. 

 I just placed my order for the Spring/Summer CSA, which starts in May.  It will last 24 weeks.  We've ordered the half bushel this time.  So keep an eye out for more pics of fresh produce starting in May.  Until then, enjoy this recap of the Fall harvest.

Doe Run Farms CSA
Fall 2013 (8 weeks) 

Feb 3, 2014

Closet Organization Links

It's another yucky day outside here in Northern Alabama.  The weather is warmer than it has been, but it's also wetter which keeps most of my DIY plans and posts on hold.  

I want to build, or paint, or craft, and with all the gloominess outside, I'd really like to see a splash of fresh bright color here and there.  Sadly, rain and paint are not good friends and the forecast is filled with more yucky weather in the coming week.

What to do?

Hmm...  Most of my closets are still in a state of chaos.  I could work on those.  But it's so hard to get motivated, and harder for me to decide what to keep, what to toss, and how to put it all back together. 

A few minutes on Pintrest yields tips and inspiration:

Sadly, today, I'm stuck going to the grocery store, doing some laundry, dishes and the usual boring every day type chores, so a big closet redo is just a daydream. 

But I can plan for tomorrow, right?