Wishing my lovely followers a blessed Christmas season and New Year! I love you all, you are so supportive and encouraging for me! Without you amazing ladies I would never have been able to keep this blog going.
May the Christ child shower your family with blessings this coming year!
And now for some vintage Christmas ephemera...
I love this one.
Merry Christmas! I'm looking forward to yet another year of blogging with you all.
I am not going to start another post apologizing for the amount of time that has elapsed since my last post, but I will say this. I have been very busy and productive this Advent preparing for Christmas. Taking a break from the computer was really good for me, though hard at times. (No Pinterest *sob*)
BUT. As I said, I was very productive. One big project I finally completed was my very first 1873 polonaise gown. About 3 days straight at the sewing machine, but well worth it.
I wore it for a Christmas evening event at the farm. It was so fun to swish around in... who doesn't like dressing up in period costume?
I also cut my hair. Pretty much most of it. It feels really short even though it isn't exactly THAT short..
I finally grew it out long enough to wrap around my head!
My hair kinda looks a little red in this picture...
It was very long and I was tired of it.
So, I got almost a foot taken off, and then some layers.
I just have to say I'm so glad to be done with all that brushing, at least for a while.
Also this week I finally bought a laptop. Not sure if that's a good thing because it means now I will probably be on the computer A LOT. But it is really nice to have all my stuff on my own computer instead of sharing with mom and dad.
That means that I can scratch off TWO things from my bucket list this month! Wow.
And finally, today is Christmas Eve of course, so I did quite a bit of baking. I also handmade most of the presents for my family, so I will have pictures of those soon.
Well I better get back to my preparations. I've got to sing for midnight and morning Mass, and I still have so much to do!!
My favorite season is slowly coming to a close. There is still another month of fall, but in my part of the country everything is fading to dull grey and brown, the leaves are all gone, and winter berries are showing their bright faces as the only bit of color left among the growing things.
The rose hips are shrinking into faded orange.
I harvested many of them for tea but couldn't use all of them.
I call these the "Helstone roses" since they bloom small and bright peachy yellow... just like the ones from the Hale's in North and South. :)
On an extremely random note, have you ever had rose hip tea? If you haven't I would advise you to get your hands on some dried rose hips (not that that's very easy) and make yourself some right now. It's perfect for cheering up the sullen soul. (A case I come down with frequently in the cold months.)
Rose Hip Tea
Steep 2 tsp dried rose hips and 1 tsp black tea into 1 cup of boiling water.
Add a bit of raw honey to taste.
I like to add the black tea to give it some body.
Therese was born for the winter months I think.
She spends more time outside this time of year than inside.
We have already had several sprinklings of snow, but only once did it pile up. I am willing to deal with the cold so long as there is snow to brighten things up.
This little rose is still hanging onto the bush out back at the edge of the woods. :)
How is the weather where you are? Have you been dumped with snow? Are there leaves still on the trees? Do share, I love hearing from friends around the country. And beyond. :)
This afternoon I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of an elegant afternoon tea at the Patterson Homestead, a living history home and grounds built in 1816 with reenactors representing the 1860s. I have been starting to volunteer at a few more living history sites in Ohio to add to my experience so I can maybe.... possibly.... hopefully..... one day get an actual full time job as an historical interpreter.
You see, only just recently did I discover that you can do this as a job. Most reenactors are just hobbyists, but many take that interest to entire new level and become what is called an "historical interpreter", or one who "interprets" life during a certain period while in costume at a living history site. I think I've finally found my dream job, people. I have talked to many interpreters recently and learned what type of experience and history studies are required for a job like this. I'm excited because this is something I could take with me my whole life. This is what I want to do! It just took me this long to finally figure it out. :)
Anyway, enough about that, let me show you what I was up to today!
The Patterson Homestead was absolutely gorgeous. I loved the architecture, the small rooms, beautiful woodwork, rough windows.... and it was all decorated for a perfect Victorian Christmas.
A cheerful wintry wreath greets visitors at the back kitchen door.
Antique lace curtains graced the kitchen windows.
I wore a green and blue calico day dress with an ivory sash and crinoline underneath. I think the Civil War era is my favorite time period for fashion. I still have my old hoop skirt in my closet that I haven't worn for years. I've been doing all this 1880s stuff and forgot how fun it was to walk around like a floating bell shape. :)
*cue the terrible quality selfies*
...and the brooch I wore. Loved the purple. :)
Once we were dressed and the tables were set, there was some free time until the guests began to arrive. I took the opportunity to roam around with Darcy and get some pictures. This was the main dining room where the guests were seated. Don't the table settings look lovely?
The house was decorated so beautifully... I felt like I had stepped right into Louisa May Alcott's classic.
That tree had some amazing period ornaments.
While the guests were there I was way too busy to take pictures. The ladies were all dressed up so elegantly and everyone brandished their best etiquette. To my utter delight, we had five British guests who joined us for the afternoon. I found myself taking tea to their table more often than others just to linger about and catch snippets of their oh-so-very-British conversation. Goodness me do they take their tea seriously! And my what great amounts of it they took! And lots of milk too! ;)
While we were clearing the plates of cranberry pumpkin scones away, a storm threatened to keep us all at the house. Which in all reality I would not have minded one bit. Thankfully it cleared up by the time we all left though.
When all was put back in order we stepped outside for a breath of the outdoors. The rain sweetened the fall air and cooled us off from working under all those layers.
I didn't want to put an end to the enchanting afternoon, but I am excitedly looking forward to helping with upcoming teas, as well as working at two new living history sites that I just passed volunteer training for. I promise to post soon about that.
Until then, have a lovely evening! It is storming pretty bad here... I hope we don't lose power. That means no electricity. And that means no internet.
The past few Saturdays I have been bringing along my younger sister, Therese, to the farm to relive history with me. She loves wearing the clothing, doing the work, and enjoying the historical pastimes.
Last weekend she and one of the other girls cleaned up the kitchen and then ground all the coffee we had roasted that morning.
After every bean was ground to a powder they took to playing some parlor games.
We have a lot of children visitors come through the farm, and they always ask what young people did in the old days before there was TV, computers, and video games. (Can you imagine life without those? Oh yes, it really would be absolutely *horrifying*)
This past weekend Therese and I took her friend along with us for her first day at the farm.
It was chilly out that day, but they kept warm with all of their running around.
After they stocked the wood boxes in the kitchen and parlor, they sat inside with their yarn and warmed up by the stove.
Visitors like seeing young people around the farm representing life in the late 19th century. We don't have a lot of youngsters around, and the children like to see people their own age. It helps them relate to what their life might look like back in the day.
It is so much fun bringing them... I really need to do it more often. :)
I have been working on Mozart's violin concerto #3 in G major for the last few months, and as I was browsing youtube for a good performance to listen to, I came upon this one of Hilary Hahn performing for His Holiness at the Vatican. Isn't that amazing?
“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.”
I know, I know, another cranberry recipe.... but you have to understand. I am not going to say the exact amount of cranberries I bought at the store the other day, but let's just say the freezer is stocked. And I seriously need to do something with them. So, to all you cranberry lovers, this one's for you!
The banana mixed with the cranberries gives it a very unique flavor. I got this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting pan
1/4 cup rolled oats, plus 1 handful for topping
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup smashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1 1/2 cup cranberries (it says to use the whole; I put them in the blender for a few pulses)
1. Pre-heat oven to 325˚F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch pan and dust with a tablespoon of flour.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk. To the buttermilk,
add the vegetable oil and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
4. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs, light brown
sugar and white sugar together until thick and pale, approximately 3-5
minutes. Mix in smashed banana and buttermilk mixture. In two batches,
add flour mixture, mixing until just combined, being sure not to
5. Fold in cranberries and transfer batter to prepared loaf pan. Top with a handful of rolled oats.
6. Bake quick bread for 1 hour, or until a tester inserted into the
center comes out clean. Invert bread onto a rack to cool. Cranberry
Oat Bread will be moist up to 3-4 days. Wrap tightly in
plastic wrap to preserve its freshness.