Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Punch Paper Purse Project

Here's another punch paper item I've been wanting to try for ages. I like the idea of customizing a purse with the first letter of my name. These sorts of customizable pieces were all the rage in the 19th century. Also, that pink just pops!


I created the main punch paper piece first, and then glued that to a piece of covered chipboard. The silk I have in stock is very limited, a situation I hope to rectify soon! I would prefer a red for next time, or a light blue. For the rest of the bag I made a pattern similar to one I use for my little sewing bags. With the exception of the punch paper piece, the project was quick, easy, and fun!


I have all sorts of ideas for designs for my next version of this. The original has a crown and extra pieces, but I wanted something more simple for my first round. Next time I might do more of a geometric pattern. This will be an adorable sewing bag, though I doubt I'll bring it outside much. Punch paper is delicate like that. Perhaps a prize like this for the conference? Hmmm...

~Kristen

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Leaving the Project Doldrums

After a quick look through my blog/life timelines, I've recently realized that I've been involved with reenacting for nearly a decade (not including participating as a kid). I know that's nothing compared to many people I've spoken to, but it qualifies as almost a third of my life. There are very few things I've participated in for that long. So as you can imagine, sometimes I need a fresh perspective, a new look at what I want to do.

The other side of my participation has been running my shop. I've been selling jewelry/small items for at least five years, and it's easy to land in the doldrums. So I created a vision board with images to inspire me to keep going in my research. It didn't take long; I've had most of these pictures saved for awhile, just electronically.

Some of these are pieces from my collection, others I've made that make me feel awesome. Throw in a little research and a dash of primary sources and you have a vision board! I'm not necessarily making any of these pieces, they're just inspiring to me. Now it's posted near my computer where I can be reminded every day that there's still new things for me to try.

I hope you can find a way out of your doldrums! Would anyone want to do a vision board party?

~Kristen

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Punch Paper Project Progress

One of my resolutions this year is to continue working on projects throughout the year. They keep me busy, and push me to do more research/try new techniques. I've had my eye on this little punch paper bag for quite some time, but never made myself work on it. Just for reference, here it is:

I've made the thimble case in the past and it was such a cute little thing. It took forever to cut the design into the paper, then carefully attach the silk on the inside. It's a flimsy box even when I first made it. I look at the surviving originals and wonder how they survived at all.

At first I thought the round bag was for gloves. Ha! It's not even possible, unless they're teeny tiny little gloves. The text reads "Mend your gloves," which means it might be a bag for small sewing supplies. I'm guessing here, but gosh is it tiny. Based on my observations, it looks like the punch paper piece is created with punch paper at the bottom. Then a bag is stitched to the inside. Here's what I came up with:

I added chipboard at the bottom to reinforce it-next time I'll create a round bottom covered with fabric to make it prettier (I've seen that on other original sewing bags). I used an exacto knife to cut the design at the top of the paper. It doesn't show in the picture, but I made a little mistake there. 

It was adorable and easy to create once I figured out how to manipulate the punch paper. I can see these being fun gifts for friends. Or perhaps a prize for the conference? And the amount of sayings you could add are endless. Maybe "Mind your mending" or "No idle hands." Oh the snarky snark I could snark...

~Kristen

Friday, January 3, 2020

2020 Goals

Happy New Year!
It's a time of reflection and resolution, a beginning of the year personal tidying.
 It feels especially important for me in 2020, as we have so many upcoming changes.
So here goes what plans I have for the New Year!

1. Prepare early for events
In the past, I've typically waited until the month before an event to really start preparing. This year will be different! I've started a schedule for my beadwork and stitching so that I may have more stock available for Greenfield Village. I'm also teaching a class at the Ohio Regimental Military Ball and selling my wares, so it helps to be prepared. No more rushing for me!
I'm teaching a class on how to make these!

2. Be more innovative in the shop
I have a secret that's only slight secret-there are many, many pieces of jewelry/historic crafts that I would like to try, but do not because they are intimidated or I feel rushed with other projects. I'm going to try one new thing each month. Some I may never do again; others will push me in my research to be a better shop owner and reenactor.
Antique c. 1850 Handmade Embroidered Thimble Case & Glove image 0
I'm thinking a gloves bag is in order

3. Pay attention to details at the conference
Last year was hectic for The Citizen's Forum of the 1860's. We relocated to a new historic spot AND my Mom could not be there as was helping my sister with her newborn (Reed was born while I was setting up for the conference lol). Now we have a year under our belt with my Mom very excited to make some changes. She attended The Domestic Skills Symposium with me in November and purchased a few historic cookbooks. There's at least some springerle cookies on the way, as well as a "closer look" published booklet that will be added this year. Definitely must plan for this!

4. More writing for the blog
This was one of my resolutions last year, and I certainly hit the mark. Ideally I will have a post at least once a week, 4x a month. I got halfway to that goal in 2019, let's see how it goes this year!

5. Healthy living=better fitting reenacting clothes
I've always had a tough time with my eating habits. I can clean a plate and ask for seconds quicker than most people can bat an eyelash. As I've gotten older, I've noticed it push at my waistline just a bit. In 2019 I lost about 30 pounds, but I still want to lose more in order to fit into my older reenacting ensembles. It's mostly diet with a splash of exercise thrown in. Those of you with expensive costume closets know; gaining weight can be difficult if it means you have to replace an entire wardrobe. 

Roasted chestnuts!

6. Be okay with change
Reed will be a year in March. I'm planning a trip maybe to Alaska. Dom and I may be getting married sometime this summer. I might have to quit my job and move to a new city if my fiance finds a job out of our area. We are in a transition period in our lives so I have to be okay with change. I'm the sort of person who likes to know everything that's coming (Ah, anxiety). But we do not have that luxury in 2020, so I'm trying to find a positive spin on all this change. 

So goodbye 2019!
Hello 2020!

~Kristen

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Greenfield Village Holiday Nights 2019

My awesome fiance decided an really awesome Christmas present this year: Greenfield Village, Holiday Nights! We drove the hour down to Dearborn, and enjoyed every second. My favorite moments were the parachuting Brit, eating roasted chestnuts, and looking at the different historic Christmas trees. Usually I only get to spend time at Greenfield Village if it's the Civil War weekend due to my hectic schedule. It was nice to carve out some time to enjoy it during the holiday season!

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the night; there's no order to it, just what I liked. You may recognize some of my friends as presenters or the type of historic handiwork on display. There's something inspiring about watching others create, and the next few days were spent designing new things for my shop. This birthday present was certainly needed! It helped that it was about 55 degrees in Michigan...

This is Greenfield Village doing it right!

I hope I didn't make you too jealous...if you ever get a chance, do try to visit for one of their Holiday Nights weekends. It's absolutely wonderful, a gift I can receive every year and love it!

Merry Birthmas, everyone!

~Kristen

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Christmas Preparations

The holiday season is certainly a rush for me and my family. I spend the weeks before pushing and prodding my students at school to finish finals and turn in work. Then I attempt to fill some of my online orders of jewelry. Finally, there is shopping and cooking and all the million preparations that make our family gatherings possible. I'm lucky if I'm not burned out by Christmas day.
He's all for being burned out on the couch!

This year I've done my best to start earlier, and it has certainly made a big difference! Most of the shopping is done already (thanks Amazon!), with the recipes and plans already made for food. I still have an order or two to send out, but I have the weekend. So in my now plentiful spare time (ha), I've been able to create a few items for my shop/future events. Aren't these little things just lovely?

I may turn the punch paper into bookmarks, or even the front of a needle case. We shall see! I hope you're enjoying your holiday preparations. Expect a post from me soon about the new year. Stay safe and love history, friends!
~Kristen

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Christmas at Fort Wayne, 2019

Some people start playing Christmas music in October. Others wait 'til after Thanksgiving to start decorating their house. For me, my holiday cheer doesn't begin until my Christmas as Fort Wayne in Detroit. Suddenly, I'm ready for the fat Santas and miles of lights.

However, this year there was a bit of a hiccup. Our Fort Wayne event typically hosts tours of the public that shows Christmas in different houses/time periods. They meet in a specific spot at the Fort, one that unfortunately needed urgent repairs and could not be used. At first, we thought the event would be cancelled, which would be somewhat tragic for my Christmas spirit. But then, we were told we could use the building, but there would be no public to present to.
*Photos by Ken Giorlando


Which means practicing first person! We had a lovely group, and as always I felt very comfortable. This year did have a twist; Carrie (or Agnes) has little Nadia. In the 19th century, a domestic servant would not have or bring a child to work with her. So we pretended for a bit that she was mine, though she deeply cared for her caretaker, Agnes. I had a chance to get in some baby cuddles, and hopefully Carrie got a bit of a break too!
Dinner was fantastic as always. I made my apples, onions, and sausage dish, and we feasted on ham, roasted vegetables, bread, and pickled everything. Dessert was pie and cake, complete with a very large dollop of whipped cream. I look forward to this meal for weeks, and this year was no exception. Eating in the light of the candles lent that authenticity that makes you feel like you're truly there!

Now I'm ready for true holiday spirit! Have a safe holiday season, folks, and have fun!

~Kristen

Punch Paper Purse Project

Here's another punch paper item I've been wanting to try for ages. I like the idea of customizing a purse with the first letter of ...