Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reformation Day Faire

It's hard to explain to non-Christian or normal Halloween-celebrating friends what a Reformation Day Faire is. Usually my explanation goes like this: It's celebrating Martin Luther and his 95 thesis, John Calvin and the Protestant Reformation... you know, John Calvin? (confused looks) Instead of celebrating Halloween? (shocked muttering and shaking of heads) Oh, never mind- it's a fall festival. (the light bulb goes on and shocked look disappears)

So Jen and I traveled the eight hours to IL with three other ladies for Providence Church's annual Reformation Day Faire, leaving last Thursday and arriving home Monday evening. We all agreed we had a good time- not quite a great time, but a good time. We stayed with a wonderful host family who showed us the art of good hospitality. We heard speakers on John Calvin both Friday and Saturday morning, very enjoyable when we weren't feeling too sleepy. Saturday afternoon the Scottish games began, followed bythe Boffer war. Since we ladies didn't know anyone in the games, we left after a while. My favorite part of the event was the ball Saturday night(English Country Dancing). We started out with the Virginia Reel, a dance I've actually done before, and I really wanted to dance again. Since I was a stranger there, I thought for sure no guy would ask me to dance, so I was very pleasently surprised and very happy when someone asked me to dance right away! I danced four out of the five dances altogether and had a wonderful time. I also really enjoyed the Church service and spending time with our hosts Sunday evening- we watched "Pendragon" together. A good movie, but the acting made me laugh sometimes.

Monday we traveled home. We specifically stopped at Steak and Shake in Iowa for lunch, because there aren't any in Nebraska that I know of, and had a pleasent meal together. Then a little farther on we got off the interstate to stop at a cemetery I wanted to visit. I got my tombstone pictures and then one of our members got sick, so we ended up waiting about an hour in Williamsburg, Iowa while her prescription got filled. We got a little silly running around the town square taking pictures. Kind of an odd sidenote to our fairly calm trip.

We had a good time and it was nice to get away for a little vacation. If I did it again, though, I think it might be more enjoyable if my family had been there or if I hadn't been the only quiet one in the car.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I spent at least an hour last week searching online for sources on 18th Century clothing, and ended up adding a half dozen blogs to my favorites, such as Diary of a Mantua maker. One website I really enjoyed was the Great Pattern Review, an excellent resource for ideas and pattern recommendations. I especially enjoyed seeing the photos of all the different styles and eras of dress.

I am almost finished with my caraco jacket, which is going as well as it possibly can considering the huge alterations I've made to my pattern. The process has convinced me to go ahead and buy the book, Patterns of Fashion 1. I am trying to be historically accurate and correct in my sewing, but some re-enactors would probably be horrified at my sewing process. It seems that in the future that I will be forced to learn to draft my own patterns, and I'm sure this book will be a great help.

I'm sorry my posts have been all about sewing lately. That's all I've been doing in my free time this week!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This post ended up being all about Money

I've taken a small weekly babysitting job which will hopefully pay for some of my living expenses. It's not much money but at least it's something. It's so nice to just babysit little girls and not little boys. I even have time to read in between incidents. Last night I did have to emphasize that Ladies don't bang their fists on the walls- I'm sure I never did at that age- and there was one blood-letting injury, but it was the first in four weeks. When you consider the statistics of average two year old boy injuries, once in four weeks isn't bad.

Sewing get be expensive. Especially sewing authentic, period correct clothing, when you're aiming for specific kinds of material and special patterns. In my next attempt at creating eighteenth century clothing I hope to make a caraco jacket, similar to the gown I made, only shorter and with different seam lines. The cheapest pattern I could find for a caraco jacket was $10. Now, even with this babysitting job, I don't feel I can keep on spending money on authentic patterns. So, two options: I could spend ALL my current monthly budget and buy this book and be set up forever, or I could try to alter the period correct pattern I already have, keeping the right seam lines and changing the skirt. Beginner sewer I may be(sometimes I dare to call myself intermediate), but I alter my patterns fearlessly. It drives my sister nuts.

Actually, there is an option number three: I drive for two hours every day to get a job I don't like, come home exhausted every night and have less time for sewing, so I have more money to sew.

After considering the options, I think I'll just bide my time and for now alter the pattern so I can have something to wear here, and hope that wonderful tradition of giving the grandkids money at Christmas continues.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our Exhaustingly Encouraging Experience

We all left on Thursday for the Providential History Festival 2009. Our cabin was definitely a step up from tent camping, and in some ways a treat, seeing as it had insulated walls and even actual beds. There was a downside though: the showers were open air, meaning they were in a building with large screen windows on the sides, to let in the air which happens to be frigid this time of year. Taking a shower in the 34 F degree weather Sunday was a miserable experience and I hope I never have to repeat it. It was miserable I tell you, just miserable!

Friday is when the fun/work started. Mom and Dad were in charge of making sure the workshops went smoothly. I was in charge of making sure the boys were well behaved, so I sat in on the drama workshop(Thanks to the Erber family) with them. Being a coward, I was in mortal fear of being picked as a "volunteer" from the crowd, so I fled during the break and left the boys to do what they would. And I breathed a sigh of relief at having escaped being on stage.

The weather was terribly windy and cold, so our planned lunch at the park turned into a quick lunch in the van. Friday afternoon we spent a long time waiting to rehearse the boy's "John Paul Jones" drama, and after dinner we were treated to hearing Patrick Henry's famed "Liberty or Death" speech(Thanks again to the Erbers). It was very well done- I've never heard it done better. Then we all headed to the hanger for some dancing. The guys were a little reluctant to join in on the first round, and bless those few brave men who sacrificed themselves for the sake of the ladies, but by the second dance the guys were having more fun than the women. It got a little more athletic after that.

Saturday: We arrived as early as possible(in full costumes) and were still late. Our drama wasn't until the afternoon so we had all day to be nervous. Wearing my dress and stays all day long wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought it might be, just bulky. We spent the day listening to the speeches, watching the dramas, and spending time with our new friends from Texas. The drama went smoothly and Caleb's speech was flawless. Following dinner was a concert by Nathan Clark George and then, finally, the awards ceremony.

I have always disliked it when athletes or any sort of competitors say, "I've worked so hard I deserve to win." It's so selfish. But as I've worked on my project over the months(I've been studying, planning, and compiling since last December) I've come to maybe understand a little more how those competitors feel when they say that. It's not a good thing and I've definitely needed reminders that I shouldn't focus on wanting to win. But I did want to win. And it just so happened that I did: I received the Audience Choice award for Best Table Display. Caleb won the Judges' Choice award for Best Speech. I'm very thankful that people enjoyed my table enough to vote for it. Now that it's all over and I've recovered a little sleep-wise, it's time to start planning for History Festival 2010!