Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Word Choice: Understanding Reenactor Language

Language. That beautiful, morphing beast. It twists, turns, and snakes into every crevice of our being. Have you ever covered your mouth after saying something terrible? Or read a letter that made you cry? Heck, a cartoonist in France recently died for the things he wrote/drew, so the power of language extends beyond just words. Communication is essential for human existence.
I love me some communication!
Photo by Ken Giorlando

I currently teach English and Spanish at the high school level. It never ceases to amaze me how language shifts! I learn new words everyday from my students (not all good...) while I impart my vocabulary. In Spanish class my students are surprised by new words, marveling at the sounds. If you couldn't tell, I love language study! I should have been a linguist...

With that said, I constantly marvel at the power of words within the reenacting community. Such words as farb or progressive hold an enraptured audience. The names of certain reenactors are held to a higher standard, so much so that even when they're outright wrong, the power of their name has few people question them. I have already written on these topics, with my posts She said WHAT?!? The Power of a Name in the Reenacting Community and Ethical Selling Practices of the Reenacting CommunityMy fascination with language seems to sink into every post!

The more time I spend on reenactor websites or speaking with fellow reenactors, the more I am interested in their speech patterns. My friends think I'm crazy when I use my different language, so I'd like to use this post to start tracking some of these words. Please keep in mind that I am an amateur linguist at best, and tracking language patterns is a full-time job. Think of this more as a starting point, a springboard for anyone more trained in the field than I.
My zombie-hunt training is taking up too much time

I have grouped my words into categories of intention, as I find that to be most important within the reenacting community. People may agree or disagree about their meanings, but I find that such a conversation is essential regardless!

Words that Wound
Why is it that my first thought is to the negative? Perhaps because I, like many, have used these words to describe items or people. They are rarely used in a positive light; a sutler or person with such an impression or items might be avoided at events.

Farby/Farb: Is a derogatory term used in the hobby of historical reenacting in reference to participants who are perceived to exhibit indifference to historical authenticity, either from a material-cultural standpoint or in action. It can also refer to the inauthentic materials used by those reenactors.-Wiki

I think this definition sums it up well. Few would argue the "bare bones" of it. Yet I think it points out some of the issues with having such a word. I underline perceived because this word stands out to me. I can think of times when my research stood true, and another person "perceived" my difference from the norm as "farby." The problem with perception is that it relies heavily on our own judgement.
Depending on the experience of the reenactor, such a statement could be completely false. 

On the other hand, when someone most certainly falls into the category (think zippers), it is our "perception" that they are indifferent to their inaccuracy. Often people are saving up for other items, or they generally do not have the knowledge just yet (or were scammed by sutlers!). More importantly, it is "derogatory." An insulted person might not be so open to advice if such a word is used to describe him/her. 
A typical reaction to name calling
Photo by Ken Giorlando

I would also add that "mainstream" can be used in an insulting manner. The definition is less forthcoming, but does imply a negative:

Mainstream: These reenactors make an effort to appear authentic, but may come out of character in the absence of an audience. Visible stitches are likely to be sewn in a period-correct manner, but hidden stitches and undergarments may not be period-appropriate. Food consumed before an audience is likely to be generally appropriate to the period, but it may not be seasonally and locally appropriate. Modern items are sometimes used "after hours" or in a hidden fashion. The common attitude is to put on a good show, but that accuracy need only go as far as others can see. -Wiki

Again, I like this definition because it illustrates it so well. The fact that a "common attitude" requires a "good show" makes the mainstream reenactors seem almost shallow in their attempts to recreate history. And yet in a way, we are all mainstream reenactors. We negotiate to determine how far that accuracy goes, but until I see someone ride an actual horse and carriage to an event, I rest my case.

Personally, I do my best, but one would find a few plastic water bottles hidden away. Or they might hear me quietly talking on my cell phone in my tent (She's a bit addled in the brain). Emergencies happen, so that bit of modern life normally stays close by. This past season my sister ended up in the hospital. If I had not kept some of my "mainstream" tendencies, I would have missed this entirely.
Pictured: Important "mainstream" stuff

By using language such as "farby" or "mainstream," we have levels of a hierarchy to accomplish. The pressure from the reenacting community is to step out of these categories and into a higher level of thinking. Using this negative language creates boundaries, stereotypes reenactors, and can cause much grief. I think there is a much more precise way to convey meaning, one that would benefit reenactors in the long run.

Vague Language
I've touched on this subject before and it raises my hackles like no other, especially when used by sutlers to sell an item without research. VICTORIAN. Honestly, even I use it on my etsy site. It is a great word, modeled after a great woman. But if you do a basic search for Victorian, a variety of images will come up, including this lovely, totally-used-during-the-Civil-War bat wing necklace:

The word "Victorian" is as vague as the sea is wide. And in this case on etsy, the seller isn't marketing the item for reenactors. No, people who like Victorian stuff might like this because it is inspired by the era. That's fine. It bothers me when sellers market to reenactors saying things such as this, along with "appropriate." Often these are not accompanied by research. There should be SOMETHING, a reference in text, a cdv, a fashion plate. If you notice, I make sure to include those when I research for a post. Because I've seen some terrible stuff out there marketed to reenactors, with words like "Victorian" and "appropriate" to seal the deal.

What I'm trying to say is that reenactor language can be intentionally vague. Is it wrong for me to say my coral earrings are Victorian? Certainly not. And I am excited to see more sutlers adding that information, more consumers asking for it. The Victorian Era lasted over 50 years. It is the lack of clarification in these terms that leads to confusion, and eventually a dishonest/lazy sutler lining his/her pockets. All things I desperately hate.

Rewarding Sounds
Ah, finally! Music to my ears! I have been told on more than once occasion that my mindset was quite progressive, and at the moment I rejoiced. Someone recognized my hard work, singled me out as a person moving beyond the simple "dressing up" that has become synonymous with the farby and mainstream. It is meant as a compliment, though I think it is important to examine the word's meaning before it came to such a specialized term:

Progressive: Of circumstances, attributes, ideas, conditions, etc.: characterized by, relating to, or involving gradual change or advancement, esp. for the better; growing, increasing, developing; marked by continuous improvement. -OED

No wonder we love this word! And to be honest, I like the emphasis on learning. But the problem with this term is that we don't know the scale on which someone starts. A progressive-minded person may appear "farby," but might not have the funds instantaneously to fix things such as a zippered dress or certain stoneware. In a way I would argue that there are far more progressive reenactors than there are farby or mainstream. How do we look into the soul of a person to find out their passion for learning?
Passion: Mourning in an 80 degree room
Photo by Ken Giorlando

Who determines if a person is considered progressive? Is there a certain percentage of accurate clothing to wear? Or camp gear? Say I am 87% good with my clothing, but my out of season food is at 32%? I understand that this is not meant to be an exact assessment of a person, but sometimes it functions that way within the reenacting community.

The word "authentic" works much the same way. It is a compliment, a way to let a reenactor know that proper historical reproduction has been achieved. Isn't that "authentic" in the eye of the beholder? After all, I have seen the experts within the reenacting community argue about the true authenticity of an object/impression. Who is right? Who is wrong? If they're wrong, do we never listen to them again? Authenticity is only as good as our research, which constantly changes.

So now what?
I'm really good at picking a problem apart-but putting it back together? It's easy to say something is wrong with a system. What's difficult is coming up with solution! In no way is this post meant to completely stop the use of any of these words. I would just like a conversation to happen, for reenactors to become cognizant of their language choices.

For starters, farby and mainstream can be hurtful. I know I use those words too! So how can we use more precise language to clear up confusion for newbies and seem less offensive? I like saying "lacks research," or "still growing." Let people know that life-long learning is the game. Mistakes will be made. Even our great experts have been guilty of such an offense, though I will argue that they were able to get away with it better because of a lack of social media...
#19thCenturyPhotoLeak
Photo by Ken Giorlando

To avoid the vague language, we should always question. What do you mean by Victorian? 1860 or 1880? How is this item appropriate? What research do you have to support your claim? If vague language is not supported by an explanation, then keep asking until you get an answer!
Sometimes vague language leads to terrible things
Photo by Ken Giorlando

As for our nice language...let's be more precise here too. Ken Giorlando is very good at this-he loves learning! In our conversations, he revels in the education-minded members of our group (21st Michigan). While the word "progressive" gets tossed around, so does positive, hardworking, research-minded, passionate, and finding the best available solution. Specific aspects of the impression are included, to remind the person what progressive looks like in action. Let's focus on that positive!

I suppose I just want us to treat one another with respect, even those people who appear to be unchanging. Perhaps they had a bad experience? Sometimes I have students that refuse to do any school work, only to find a traumatic school event from the past. And for those completely stubborn, rainbow snood wearing reenactors...will your advice do anything? Probably not. So focus on your own group/self improvement!
I will improve by mending more fences
Photo by Ken Giorlando

And when you comment...think about what you say!

~Kristen

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Becky: a happy surprise

In July I made Cynthia's first dress, a second long sleeve and a petticoat.
Both of the dresses were made of the same fabric that I had stashed for a long time. Last night while cleaning out my sewing room for memorial weekend, I thought to try them back on Cynthia. And alas they fit!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Offseason: Handling the "downtime" of reenacting

So I survived 2014. Somehow in the space of a year I did more things than I can imagine. I became a godmother, stood in a friend's wedding, lived in St. Maarten, and earned my master's degree. For the past year my extra time was spent with various papers strewn about my bed accompanied by a worried expression on my face. Not exactly the most relaxing way to spend a day.
This face

Now that my time is my own again, I have to readjust my life. The sprint is over for now! But just what do I do with this extra space in my schedule? I find myself wishing for more winter events to attend... So what do I do?
So you wanted to leave the house, eh?

I suppose the purpose of this post is to remind myself and inspire others to use this time wisely. At some point during this upcoming reenacting summer I want to look back and say "Thanks goodness I did that already!" rather than my usual "what the heck was I doing?"***

***Apparently this is my "Type A" personality kicking in!

Research Research Research
Winter in Michigan can only be compared to a marathon. The first stretch is doable, but by the end everyone is limping and just wants it to be over. Last year's polar vortex was so intense that our district took 10 snow days (all necessary, I might add). Michigan does not mess around when it comes to winter. We winter so hard here.
And we look good doing it!

The cold lends itself to people/animal snuggling, under copious amounts of blankets with a book/computer. Browsing the internet is such a seductive activity, especially historical research. I'm more open to looking at new research that is unrelated to my current research, possibly informing me of new projects. Here are a few of my obsessions: 

Pinterest-Pictures
Magazine Archives-Text and Pictures
Accessible Archives-All that, a bag of chips, and a cookie

I have recently created a few more pinterest boards for topics that I did not even contemplate. Punch paper bookmarks? Yes! 18th century jewelry? Of course! Spiritualism in Michigan? Totally a thing! The options are endless though my time isn't. Right now I can look back at those shiny things that were just a daydream during busy months. They inspire me to work harder on my impression, as well as improve my blog/shop.

Start a new Project
With most of my reenactment gear carefully tucked away, my desk is frightfully empty. Since a full desk is a condition of reenacting, I fill it immediately with stuff from my research moments. The space and time is available, so why not use it?
I see some room 

In December I finished a delicate pink dress. My fabric drawer needs cleaning, so I hope to finish my windowpane sheer dress by Greenfield Village. I also have 2 complete outfits from other time periods that I would like finished by May. On top of everything else, one of my goals this year was to add new items to my shop at least once a month. I'm taking a "seize the day" attitude with these plans!

Scope out other events/time periods
Nearly every Civil War reenactor peers out from behind the 19th century curtain at some point in his/her career. I started slowly with my Regency dresses, complete with correct underpinnings/shoes. But that whisper of history grows increasingly louder, a pulsing hum from both the 18th and 20th centuries. For the past year I've had an 18th century corset in my closet with shoes/stockings. I'm just dying to get into my skirt and jacket patterns!
And this was the hard part!

I'm also preparing for an awesome event at the Plymouth Historical Museum, a bit of a dinner performance that I will tell you more about later. Of course I need the proper early 20th century clothing to accompany it! The fabric is purchased, pattern prepared. Now that I have the time, I can churn that out!
Yes please!

Even though I have friends who participate in multiple time periods, I can't help but feel that I'm "cheating" on the Civil War part of the 19th century. Yes I understand that this has no logic, as one cannot be in a relationship with a time period...or can she?

Hang Out!
Okay, okay. I'll spend some time relaxing. My sewing nights with Sue and the gang are incredibly fun! I'll take my cousin ice skating. A trip up to my hometown is certainly in the works. And my (non-reenacting) friends will finally see my face again. I have to remember to live in the 21st century too!
With a thoroughly modern duck face

I also have Becky's wedding on the horizon! Along with that, I've been accepted as a vendor at a Victorian Tea/jewelry show on February 7th, and at the Kalamazoo Living History Show on March 21-22. I am so lucky to have such awesome things coming up for me, along with the support of my family and friends! I feel an "I'm so lucky" moment coming on...

~Kristen



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

19th century Material: Coral

As I started my research, one particular jewelry material always stuck out. Coral, that bright stone! I was entranced by the many shades with deep, beautiful hues. Dark reds, ditzy looking pinks. The first piece of jewelry that I ever made utilized coral. Red is TOTALLY my favorite color!
I also love the color "tree"

Time and again coral surfaces in my search for accurate jewelry. Both the 18th and 19th century used coral in its adornments. I've worn a few pieces with my Regency dress, and more than often with my Civil War garb. They sell like hotcakes in my shop (seconded only by onyx/black stones) so I thought I would contribute my research for posterity. There are SO many sources to justify the use of coral that I will try to show the different sizes/shapes/colors appropriate for Civil War.

About Coral
Mostly found in the Mediterranean Sea, coral grows 4-100 meters from the surface. It is composed mostly of calcium carbonate, colored red by carotenoid pigments (Wiki). The stone must be polished, as it usually matte-colored. Control of the areas from which coral could be mined often led to fierce competition between different countries, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The deeper meaning of coral leads back to ancient Romans. The story of Perseus, the sea monster, tells that coral the petrified seaweed covered in the blood of Medusa's head. Poseidon used the stone in his palace as well, making coral a prominent component of mythology. The Romans believed in the luck of coral, a sentiment revived by the Victorian era. Children often wore the stone, with the belief that it could cure snake bites or poison.

The Etruscan revival in the 19th century brought coral front and center in jewelry, especially from 1845 Italy. Honestly, it had not gone anywhere; the Georgian and Regency eras show a propensity towards the stone that cannot be missed in paintings. Dark reds and pale pinks were most common, even a dyed white coral was not remiss. "But even more prized were ornamented of finely carved coral, in the shape of crosses, roses, hands, cameos, and the like" (Flower and Moore). A coral parure for a young lady would have been considered a prized gift!

Mining took place for centuries, depleting the coral reefs off of many continents. Today's scientists have seen the results of overfishing and pollution on these reefs, so many organizations have sprung up to protect these habitats. Coral mining is more regulated in parts of the world, preserving the underwater habitat of marine wildlife. Substitutes such as glass or dyed bamboo are becoming more common in the marketplace to take the place of actual coral.

Photographic Documentation
It would be incredibly difficult to "prove" that a lady is wearing coral from a photograph, as those colors are added later. What we're left with is the possibility that the red necklace is indeed coral. Or is the white necklace pearl? Or black? Since we cannot physically touch the jewelry, complete authentication is impossible. However, I will still include this type of evidence as it shows the common nature of coral (or the appearance of it) in the 19th century.


There aren't many pictures much past little girls and necklaces. I KNOW based on my other evidence that coral was quite popular for other ages too, so I wonder why I can't find more photographs of women wearing it, rather than girls? Did they just not color in their jewelry? Or is it because these are earlier images? Sometimes a piece of evidence leaves more questions than answers! 

Textual Documentation
I have more evidence of this type than I know what to do with. In fact, my first experiences with coral were from a source that mentioned its stylish nature. Paintings, fashion plates, descriptions; all show coral to be a popular stone for this part of the 19th century! I narrowed my search to 1855-65.


 DESCRIPTION OF STEEL FASHION-PLATE FOR DECEMBER, Godey's Lady's Book, December 1859

Fig. 4.— Tarleton dress for a young lady, the whole formed of puffs; corsage cut square; coral ornaments. Strands of coral in the hair.

BOARDING-SCHOOL EVILS, Godey's Lady's Book. February, 1860.
We well know that there can be but one ruling passion, and as vanity and all that goes to feed it, dress and jewelry especially, is the besetting sin of a school-girl's life, we can but wonder at the blindness that ministers to it deliberately, instead of uprooting any weed of temptation from the path. The rivalries of dress, furniture, and equipage, that make up so much of our social life, begin in the school-room with Eliza's Christmas set of pink coral and Lucy's ill-gotten flounced silk— ill-gotten, since it was purchased with the sum that should have given her mother a comfortable shawl or the children their bird's-eye aprons.

NATURAL ORNAMENTS, Godey's Lady's Book. June, 1860.
“THE month of roses” reminds us how few ladies make use of the most charming of all ornaments for the hair and dress, natural flowers. They load themselves with impossible clusters of muslin roses and jessamine, with dangling pendants of glass and wax, called jet and coral by courtesy; they flash bugles and spangles into your eyes with every turn of the head, while the pendant wreaths of the Spiera Reevesi, and the graceful racemes of the laburnum and the “bleeding heart,” or the perfumed cups of the valley lily, are perishing, unnoticed, in the lawn and garden.

MARY GREY, Godey's Lady's Book June, 1860
Florrie, too, looked very lovely, in her little white dress and coral armlets and necklace, her golden hair curling in little short ringlets all over her head, and her cheeks the color of a May rose.

CHITCHAT UPON NEW YORK AND PHILADELPHIA FASHIONS, FOR JULY, Godey's Lady's Book, July 1860
Dress for evening, of perfectly plain white grenadine. The under skirt has three flounces of moderate width; the upper one is perfectly plain. There is no pattern, no edge of any description, to the flounces, sleeves, or waist—the richness of the material obviates it— with the exception of a rich satin ribbon, also of plain white, which forms the heading of the berthe, and has a bow on each shoulder and in the centre of the corsage, bracelets and belt-clasp of gold, set with red coral 

MISCELLANEOUS, Godey's Lady's Book. August, 1860.
ARTIFICIAL CORAL .— This may be employed for forming grottos and for similar ornamentation. To two drachms of vermilion add one ounce of resin, and melt them together. Have ready the branches or twigs peeled and dried, and paint them over with this mixture while hot. The twigs being covered, hold them over a gentle fire, turning them round till they are perfectly covered and smooth. White coral may also be made with white lead, and black with lampblack, mixed with resin. When irregular branches are required, the sprays of an old black thorn are best adapted for the purpose; and for regular branches the young shoots of the elm are most suitable. Cinders, stones, or any other materials may be dipped into the mixture, and made to assume the appearance of coral .

CHITCHAT UPON NEW YORK AND PHILADELPHIA FASHIONS, Godey's Lady's Book. September, 1860.
The headdress consists of a wreath of the foliage of the service tree, intermingled with festoons of coral beads.”

DESCRIPTION OF STEEL FASHION-PLATE FOR JULY,Godey's Lady's Book, July 1861

Fig. 2.— Zouave jacket of blue armure silk, embroidered. The shirt, with wide bouffant sleeves, is made of white muslin, buttoned up in front by a row of coral buttons or studs, and has a small standing-up collar and cuffs composed of blue embroidered silk, and edged with narrow lace. Skirt of blue armure, trimmed with a band of a darker shade, having the upper edge embroidered. The waistband is of blue velvet, ornamented with gold embroidery. The headdress is the coiffure Orientale, composed of a bandeau in gold passementerie, with a rosette on each side encircled with gold beads, and having pendent gold tassels.

BRIDAL FINERY. Godey's Lady's Book. December, 1861.
The articles in wear for so long a time have been added to this fall—notwithstanding the pressure of the times, and the economical resolves of most families. Among them we note the rich combs of coral, ivory, silver, and gold, intended for evening wear, in full dress. 

A LADY'S GLANCE AT THE LONDON EXHIBITION, Godey's Lady's Book. March, 1863.
Very delicate to our modern ideas, though barbaric to those of the Greeks, as developed in the collection of M. Castellani, is a bracelet of the lightest pink coral cut into small lily-shaped cup-flowers, with gold stamen tipped with minute gems. 

CHITCHAT UPON NEW YORK FASHIONS FOR SEPTEMBER, Godey's Lady's Book. September, 1864.
Bands of velvet are much worn round the throat. Some are ornamented with studs of precious stones, and, though reminding us somewhat of a dog-collar, they are pretty. Three or four yards of velvet or ribbon, tied round the throat and the ends falling at the back, continue to be worn by young ladies.
The newest hair nets are made of small shells or coral . They are very pretty and dressy.
Le Bon Ton, March 1857

I had to stop there. I deleted many examples as I found them to be redundant. Basically, coral was used very often, and mostly by younger(ish) women. Yet I cannot find a reference that specially states it as "only" for young ladies. Perhaps its context and placement on the body depends on the age and status of the wearer? A debutante may have a coral parure that is passed down through the family, while her mother might have a single bracelet or pair of earrings. Just like today, people of different ages utilize the same materials, but in different ways!

Surviving Originals
This is perhaps my largest piece of evidence. The internet is jam-packed with awesome examples of coral throughout the centuries. These match up with the paintings and descriptions that I found in my textual documentation, only in tangible form. Don't you just want EVERY ONE OF THEM?



Note the many examples in so many mediums. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces, buttons, combs, parasol handles...oh my! Again I had a hard time narrowing down my results. I tried to find a variety of mediums as well as colors in which to view the style. One thing is for sure; there is a whole bunch of coral jewelry from the 19th century!

In Conclusion
Coral is amazing. Can I leave it at that? No? Well, my personal opinion is that more people should be wearing coral. And I'm not just saying that because I have a ton of it in my shop and I love making jewelry with it. I'm saying it because research.

As with my other motifs/materials, I think it is important to be aware of your surroundings before selecting coral as a jewelry piece. Are you cooking in a kitchen? Or going to a ball? The latter might be more appropriate for a full set of coral jewelry. A better day dress will suit a modest pair of earrings, while bracelets would be fashionable too. Young children are suited for coral as it keeps away bad luck, a daunting task at events with numerous fire-pits and changing weather. Red is just the prettiest color to see in a 19th century setting!
Did I mention Regency too?

Speaking of that setting, I would like to see more ladies wearing coral at appropriate events. Honestly, you don't even have to buy from me-there are other vendors that offer coral, such as Southern Serendipity and Originals by Kay. I will go back later to add more to this list to make it more of a resource. Again, I LOVE those coral adornments, and now you have the research to support wearing it so...if you must...go shopping!
May the odds be ever in your favor

~Kristen



Sources
Victorian Jewellery-Margaret Flower, Doris Langley-Levy Moore
http://www.gemsoul.com/coral-information
http://www.ecochicmagazine.co.uk/people-planet/biodiversity-people-planet/coral-mining-the-new-danger-for-reefs

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Awesome that was 1864...errr I mean 2014

Well, I'm back at it again! I know this is not the longest I've gone without posting, but I do feel slightly guilty for not keeping up with my writing schedule. I had planned on "catching up" with my shop/blog/life during this Christmas break...an unfortunate cold has laid me low for most of the past few weeks. Just when I thought my health improved (ahem, I started running around doing my stuff), I would relapse into a dizzying, bed-ridden diva. Let's just say I'm not accustomed to sickness.
It's just a flesh wound!

This January brings the third year of this blog's existence, an amazing writing/historical journey so far! I thought I would use this blog post to remind myself of 2014's great moments, great events, and the great plans for 2015. Of course I will include too many pictures! And thanks to Ken Giorlando for taking about 99% of the living history photos!

 Best of 2014
 Baby Shower for Becky
 Auto Show Charity Preview with Dad!
 Jane Austen at the Plymouth Night at the Museum
 21st Michigan Civilian Meeting
Fort Wayne Clean Up
Cynthia's Birth!
 Cynthia's Baptism!
Greenfield Village

 Volunteering in St. Maarten
 McDonald's in St. Maarten (yes that is important)
 Port Sanilac 
 Jackson (first time as sutler!)
 
Greenmead
Earned my Master's Degree at Wayne State (ate many sandwiches)
My friend Alysse's Zombie Wedding

Waterloo Farm
Crossroads Village carrying...caroling?
Jane Austen Annual Dinner
 Fort Wayne Christmas
Dad earning his Bachelor's Degree!

Of course these are the "best of" moments, captured by a camera. Life cannot always be a posed smile. It has been a year of long distance for my fiance and I, a year of stressful classes to receive my degree, and my childhood pet Sammy finally got his chew toy in the sky (15 years!). But even these harder times remind me of the beauty that is this life, a constant motion of twists, turns, and lazy bends. I am grateful for every moment of 2014!

Future Plans
This list must include my "resolutions," though I tend to stay away from such a notion. By February most people forget about those extra pounds or Oprah's books. However I do secretly love to make lists for my future. They must be specific, and certainly attainable. I'm not allowed to stop if I only partly finish one. I shall call them "personal promises" and leave it at that.

Health
1. Continue playing soccer!
2. Stay dedicated to at least 3 workouts a week/12 a month
3. Eat 5 servings of fruits/veggies a day
4. Try that "clean 10 minutes a day" thing

Education/Writing
1. Participate in a grant-writing workshop
2. Write 1 blog post a week
3. Write articles for 21st Michigan newsletter
4. Read an intro chem book

Crafting/Sewing
1. 18th century ensemble
2. 1910 ensemble
3. Punch paper card sets
4. Scrapbook previous years!

Business
1. A new, researched item in my shop once a month!
2. Participate in 3 sutlering events this year
3. Update book-keeping systems
4. Do at least 1 "give away" this year!

This might seem like copious amounts of plans. Most are topics that I've discussed previously, either on this blog or with family/friends. Apparently I have a "Type A" personality, one that lends itself to a "workaholic" mentality with a side of impatience (also, coronary heart disease???). By listing specific, attainable goals as "personal promises," I am able to manage the stress that is my personality type! I should add copious amounts of meditation somewhere to this list...
As long as there's food...

So there it is. 2014 in a nutshell. I am so very excited to see what this next year will bring! Happy new year to you, my reader and confidante!

~Kristen

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