Sunday, April 14, 2019

Prior Attire

     It was a great honor for Izabela of Prior Attire to purchase items from my shop.  I really didn't realize who was purchasing until something - cannot remember what - caught my eye and I realized who it was.  I have always admired her work, and wanted something made by her.  The issue is fittings - but many a good seamstress can work with measurement so hopefully that won't be an issue for a future gown.

     As always, I like to ask my customers to send me photos wearing the items they buy.  It is really neat to see their interpretation with the clothing they match them to.  She made the gown she has on - WOW - and has on a collet necklace, Georgian bow earrings, and is holding one of my gorgeous Spanish fans.  She is looking absolutely gorgeous.

     I was not disappointed in the photos I was tagged in on Facebook!  A lovely surprise for me, when I must confess I was having a bad day.  It is nice to see she is so happy!

     I love to create unique items that others do not have.  In this case, in between each crystal is a lovely CZ bow that also gives a little bling and allows a drop - a very delicate connector.  

     Since this posting, we hopefully will be collaborating in the future.  I am always willing to share my knowledge of jewelry, and want to learn all I can from others as well.  The items she creates are gorgeous!

     Don't forget I will be at the Fort Frederick Market Fair near Hagerstown, Maryland from 24-28 April, and then again at the Revolutionary War weekend at George Washington's Mount Vernon from 2-3 May (check out the photos as you will see me holding the very handsome Floyd at a prior event there).  Come by to see me if you get a chance - and don't forget Mother's Day is coming up soon!

Monday, April 1, 2019

A Special Order - Regency Fashion Print

     When Catherine came to me asking to make a necklace from a Regency fashion print, I was excited!  I love to make jewelry representing several centuries, and try to offer a little bit of this and that.  It makes it interesting for me, and also allows me to offer more of a variety of unusual items.  I like to call myself a jewelry engineer, and I specialize in unique items that I either find or make.  Don't worry, there are also some that I can reproduce in quantity, and I also started to have pieces manufactured so I didn't have to rely on others to have enough of what I wanted.

Close Up

Finished Set 

 We decided to make earrings as well.
Close-Up of Necklace Interpretation

Catherine Seamon looking amazing!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Military Thru the Ages, Jamestown Settlement, Virginia

     I was grateful to be invited to the Military Thru the Ages 2019 timeline event this past weekend.  I had a great time, and am thankful to everyone who came in to say hello as well as supposed the horses!  

Wearing my riding habit in the shop on Saturday

Kerry McClure, Dr. Lynn Price, and I

Appreciate Mark Schneider coming in to see me and inquire about Nelson!

Meredith LaBoon wearing a pair of my Georgian Crystal Bow and South Sea Shell Pearl
Earrings in 1940's attire

Dr. Lynn Price and I in the shop

Kerry McClure, Dr. Lynn Price, and I in the shop

Wearing my Penny River Costuming embroidered wool mitts

Travelling Nelson and Belle in the shop - they were made by Vibrant Clay and Jewelry

Dr. Price with Travelling Nelson and Belle by the ships in the settlement -
finally was able to walk down to the ships!

The second hut in the Indian Village honoring the memory of James Goucher 
who loved this event - we raised a glass in his honor on Sunday

Friday, March 1, 2019

Dressing 18th Century - An Encore Presentation at Historic Annapolis

     We were asked again by Historic Annapolis to present on 18th century clothing for their Winter Lecture Series.  This year, our focus was the same as we wanted to help those who dress up with tips, tricks, and techniques.  We also showed everyone how they dressed in the time for the lower sorts, middling, and gentry ladies and gentlemen.  So many similarities and yet also very different between the social classes.

From Left to Right - Kerry McClure, Gema Gonzalez, Nicole Foronda, and myself

     This year we had a few extra besides Kerry McClure and Nicole Foronda.  We added Gema Gonzalez and Jane Pease to our years of expertise into the mix.

     The first up were the men.  Jane provided a presentation on clothing in the colonies - Mid-Atlantic area was the focus - from the early 18th century up into the 1790's.  The difference was surely noticeable!  We were fortunate to have Mr. Paca welcome the guests into his home.

Left to Right - Chuck Aldridge, Matt West (Mr. Paca), Jane Pease, Dan McMahon, Bob, and Shane Kippenhan

     Then it was time for the ladies.  I was first up with going through clothing, fabric, the social classes, and the basics of dress.  Then I provided the audience - up to 43 signed up for our presentation - with the lower sorts basic clothing.  I showed off my half-boned jumps as an undergarment to give me structure and warmth, and I showed everyone how to properly put on their hat (over the cap).  My jumps were made by The Silly Sisters (actually my entire outfit including cap was made by Sarah Haynes Cowan).

Here I am talking about jackets and riding habits or travelling clothes

Showing off how to put on a hat properly

     We then had Nicole and Gema present on the middling sort from the lowest to those aspiring, and the range of dress that we see in portraits and prints of that social class.

Nicole talking about the middling class - we are all enthralled!

     We then dressed Gema in her upper middling clothing from stays, panniers (pocket hoops), to finished jacket and petticoat!

Nicole helping Gema dress

     Then it was time for Gentry!  Kerry provided a wonderful example of a Gentry lady in all of her finery.  She also spoke about age and dress - even in the time we would not have put "mutton in lambs clothing" which essentially means that those of us who age tend to stick with clothing that we feel is age appropriate.  Her example was Mrs. Martha Washington shown in portraits of the time in clothing that doesn't tend to go past a certain point - she was not wearing the latest clothing past the turn of the century as an example.

Kerry and I

Kerry discussing her gown - you can see her original etui and
 watch chain hanging from her petticoat.  Her earrings are available in my shop.

     Overall, we were told the presentation was excellent. The audience feedback was that they absolutely loved it!

     If you are interested in a presentation like this, please let me know.  

Sunday, February 17, 2019

New Exclusive Pocket Watch - Something for your 18th and 19th Century Impressions

     I spent quite a bit of time on the development of this next watch.  It has been a process, especially working with a manufacturer who makes for those in the 21st century.  Those of us today want lightweight, small, and thin watches - but those of us who reenact well, we want heavy, big, and thick pocket watches!  My first version was heavy, this one not so much.

Concept Drawing

     With that in mind, I did a compromise for my second watch.  These are just as large as my last one (which is sold out by the way), but they are a little thinner and lightweight.  I did this on purpose - it will serve both living historians and reenactors who want a watch to wear for two time periods - 18th and 19th century...  


     These watches are about 2 inches wide, and have a unique face that is after an original I found on-line.  I wanted the very same look, and I was not disappointed in what was developed for me.  



     This watch does not have a second hand.  This version has special hands made just for my shop, and emulate originals of the time.  I decided not to go with the same hands on the original watch in order to do something a little more fancy.  It can be worn for both centuries - I would suggest from the 1770's on up into the late 19th century.  Ladies of the Regency and Federalist eras can wear these at their waist with ease as they are lightweight, gentleman who do not want the heaviness in their fob (pocket) have no fears.  I have articles that I have written here and here on how to wear your watch properly.  I also have a Pinterest board with portraits and prints with watches, and I highly suggest the book How the Watch Was Worn: A Fashion for 500 Years by Genevieve Cummings to get just the right look.  I have this book (among others) so if you need any information, just let me know.

Gold and silver versions

     Pre-orders are now open in my shop, and this run of watches will be limited to 100 in dark gold and 100 in silver.  Get them while you can, as they will not be made with this face again (just as my first watches will not be made again).  Development of my next watch will start soon as I anticipate these to go fast.  You can never have too many watches.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

     I am working on finalizing my new book, Tea in 18th Century America!

     Here is a sneak peak of the front cover. So grateful to Pamela Patrick White of White Historic Art for use of her painting on the front cover, and to Lucinda Brant Books for writing the Foreword inside. So very excited!

Cover Art by Jera Publishing

     The book will be hardbound and I may eventually have paperback. I am not going to do an e-publication at this time. This is a book best held in your hands in paper.

     Once published in the next few months, it will be available in my shop (wholesale and retail) as well as via Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Jewelry, Hair, and Make-up in the time of Mrs. Mary Chew Paca

     I was honored to be asked to speak by Janet Perkins Hall, the Volunteer Coordinator in Historic Annapolis on jewelry in the Paca House and Gardens.  It was the home of Mrs. William (Mary Chew) Paca.  The event was scheduled for 26 January 2019 during their Winter Talk Series.  That led me to think what I wanted to talk about.  I thought it would be interesting to incorporate hair and make-up into the mix.  They seemed to go hand in hand in my mind.

Eliza and I
Photo by Robin Matty

     There was no question I would ask Eliza Leigh Vincz of Silk & Sass to bring her expertise into the mix.  I was so glad she said yes and was available!  She also performs in the Ministers of Apollo Early American Music and Arts with her fiance, Erik Lichack.  She has given presentations on dressing her and others hair using the techniques of the 18th century with products that she makes.  A perfect match as I make my own jewelry!  At this talk, the plan was for her to make-up my hair.  I personally tend to not take the time with my hair for events as I use hair pieces and my caps to best advantage - that can be called lazy but also practical in the situations I find myself in - or events I find myself going to.

     I started out the presentation with a history of Mary - as how can you NOT start out a presentation without understanding who she was?  I had to set the focus of the talk.  She lived in the house from 1763 to 1774, married in her late 20's, and passed away in her late 30's.  The portrait above is of her sister, Margaret (who I actually portray during events at the site).  There is no existing portrait of Mary that  we know of; however, I would like to think there is one out there that has yet to be identified.  Otherwise, why would these two exist and the other is lost?  Oh wait, I didn't also tell you that Henrietta Maria's portrait is also out there?  Mary, where are you?  So we can at least hope that Mary looked similar to Margaret.  I am told that the curator of collections will be offering a tour that focuses on Annapolis and Colonial Painters in the coming months - something I want to attend.  

Me talking about Mary Chew Paca - a fact of me starting living history is due to
researching my own family history
Photo by Robin Matty

     I have done my research as usual.  I'm somewhat meticulous, and knowing that those in the audience may descend from the Paca family - I needed to be on point.  This included tying in orders from Annapolis merchants to businesses in London, identifing some of the jewelers and silversmiths in Annapolis in the time that Mary was living, and pointing out that Mary may have read the latest ads in the Maryland Gazette to find out what was available to her.  I included some local watch makers (including Charles Willson Peale), silversmiths, and goldsmiths.  Did she make an appointment to order items she may have wanted or needed?  If only the letters or order books that I know of had that detail.  I had some of my research materials (books) with me as well as original 18th century items to show their construction and awesomeness.  The senior historian in Annapolis was very impressed with my research and sources.  That in itself made the presentation!

     The event was sold out with a packed room.  There was a mixture of docents as well as interested public in attendance!  We had men and women in the audience, and we were able to talk to what influenced William and Mary, and those they would have known and associated themselves with.  Their taste in jewelry may have been in general terms or specific things that they inherited.  We do not know as it was not written down anywhere.  

     We then moved on to the hair and make-up portion of our presentation.  Eliza stepped in without missing a beat - a great team.  We wanted to show how Mary would have had her hair dressed for an evening at dinner using hair pearls from my shop.  Now, many out there think that the colonies were not fashion conscious this early on, yet in my research we know that William Eddis wrote in 1771 in his “Letters from America” that 

           “Annapolis reproduced the life of an English
             town of the day and that the changes of fashion
             in London found their way to Maryland more 
             quickly than they were adopted by many 
             persons of wealth in London itself…in short 
             very little difference is in reality observable in
             manners of the wealthy colonist and the 
             wealthy Briton.”

     Now to start the hair!  Eliza is very happy to take my very long hair and start to shape it into an 18th century style.

Oh goodness - we have started!

Pomatum and Hair Powder

In progress...

Now to the details

Things are taking shape!


Now for the rouge, lip color, and painting on the eyebrows!

A portrait in the Parlor

A close up of the back of my hair

Shenanigans in the Parlor!  Too bad it wasn't real punch.  Ha 

A selfie with Robin Matty, our photographer for the day and the curator of collections
at Historic Annapolis.

So honored that they had my book available for sale and refreshments for those who attended.  Janet is the hostess with the mostest!  My book can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or in my Etsy shop.