Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

With An Easter Bonnet On It!

Every year I usually get everyone a new outfit, including hats, gloves and handbags (well, the boys don't get handbags!) for Easter. This year, I just don't have the money due to school. I was working on the mob cap order, when I just had this urge to finish another project that I promised for Rock Castle. I thought that we would make a girl's or lady's fancy Georgian/Colonial Rococo-ish tri-corn hat/ bonnet with ribbon flowers out of a plane Jane country straw bonnet.

Here is my what I started with, and how it ended up. I used white, royal blue, red, pink and green ribbon and goldenrod yarn-floss. I created a royal blue rose with four additional loops, a red rose, and three pink daisies. Yes, these are easy to do!

I just had to have an Easter Bonnet, after all!

(the back) 
This really makes me happy!

Me in the bonnet

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Available To Purchase

Cute Little Girls Mob Caps

Also great for under bonnets. Single is $15.00 each, or bulk of ten at $10.00 each. Great affordable alternative and also great for historic sales. I have an order from a late 18th century house and a Regency era house. Also available without lace $10.00 each or bulk of ten for $5.00 each. Machine sewn, or hand sewn available for $2.00 additional each.

To purchase one go here Single Mob Cap
To purchase a group of ten go here Bulk of Ten Caps

Here is a less fancy version, but still super cute! $10.00 each or bulk of ten for $5.00 each!

 (with a pink ribbon rose)

To purchase one go here One Mob Cap
To purchase a group of ten go here Bulk of Ten Cute Caps

Friday, March 29, 2013

Thesis Subject Already????

I was talking with my academic adviser today. She told me that I need to start thinking about my thesis subject. I was like, 


I am only in the middle of my first semester of my Master's program. Why should I start to think of it already? Well, I guess because it's coming up and there's a lot to it. So, if anyone can think of anything, that would be great!

I know that I want it to do with 18th century. The thesis has to be arguable. I would also like it to do with housing of some sort. Duh, right?! I really am into Rococo right now. So, could it have to do with some sort of Rococo room? Oooooo, that would be lovely. Social history for sure. Hmmmmmmmm... More on Robert Adam??? or Capability Brown????

OMG, what do I do?????!!! OOOOO, I could do a full and complete house history (for the 18th century portion, I mean) of one mansion maybe. Any suggestions????

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Material Possessions Of Pilgrims

According to John Demos

So, continuing with the Pilgrims and their housing from John Demos' book A Little Commonwealth, we come to their material possessions. Demos makes a great argument in saying that not only did the houses differ, but so did their households and possessions. I thought that the Pilgrims were all equal in social status before I read this book. I also thought that they wore the same things, and had the same things within their houses, etc. Demos brought this idea to a swift end! There were "distinctions of wealth and status" within their group.[1]

Apparently, just like me, as time went by, the Pilgrims seemed to accumulate more. They did this not just in stuff, but also in wealth and the quality of their stuff. The trend over seven years was “toward more ample and more diversified physical possessions. This was roughly true for all classes of people; in short, the whole community moved slowly toward greater material prosperity.”[2] And, just like today, the rich got richer, and the poor got poorer. Well, at least the divide became larger. Apparently, at the beginning, there wasn't a large display of wealth. There were no, or little distinctions of the classes, just “relative degrees of austerity.”[3] 

Total worth of possessions ranged as follows:

Web Adey: £3. 7s
William Pontus: £13 (including £8 for house and lands)
John Ewer: £17
Gentleman, William Thomas: £375

What a difference being a gentleman made! This did change over time as we shall see in future posts.

[1] 36.
[2] 37.
[3] Ibid.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Internship Day 3/27/2013 at "The Hermitage"

Fourth Day As An Intern
Second Day Literally On The Job

What I did today: Well, I continued on with the collections accessioning  I am starting to get the hang of the terminology, and what it pertains to. Because I had worked in this field before, I think that I am moving along quickly, even though we use the exact terminology here, and I didn't before. I am still working on documents, and today was mostly newspapers, but I did get to do two prints. One of these was a silhouette of Jackson standing, holding glasses. The man was just cool, there is no other way to describe it.

I got to watch the movie that visitors watch. This was the first time, ever, that I have seen it. Not only was it good, but I got to see my new friend Dave McArdle play President Jackson in the movie. How fun!

I also took a tour of the mansion. Yes, I have toured it before, but I needed another so that I could write it up for a class for school. I will say that the dining room is my favorite. I cannot take pictures inside. If you haven't seen it, you need to come and visit!

The pretty flowers are on the side of the house and are a ground cover. Here's three pictures, with one as a closeup. I took all of the following pictures.

After exiting the kitchen, I walked around and found this "enchanted" tree. It is an "Empress tree".No one told me that she is enchanted, but I can just tell. (Winky face) She has a large goiter, well that is what it looks like to me. Or, can it be a dragon's egg? Now take a look at the opening of the tree. It looks like a dragon to me. What do you see? 

Can you see the dragon?! Does this mean that this is the Empress Dragon? 
Or, Can this be where the fairies enter their layer? Or????

Here is one of the other interns there. Daniel is an "Interpreter Intern". He is one of the people that is dressed in period attire and will tell you about the mansion and the Jackson family.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lean-Tos And Cellars In "A Little Commonwealth"

The Last Of The Housing Construction For The Pilgrims

I think that everyone knows what a lean-to is. This is a small almost building built onto a house or barn. For the ones that I have personally seen on a house, they are not built as if someone will live in them, but are usually an extension for storage. There is no insulation, or heating, and many times there is no windows. However, this does not to seem to have been the case with the Pilgrim houses. The cellars that I have personally seen look like big holes under the house/building. I believe that because they are under ground, the temperature is more stable than the lean-to.

"Lean-tos were not invariably limited to the rear part of Plymouth houses. The Harlow House, one of the few Old Colony dwellings still extant today, is basically a single-bay structure, but it also has two lean-to additions, one at the back and another along its west side. In restoring the house for modern-day visitors, the Plymouth Antiquarian Society has identified the side lean-to as a 'scullery' and fitted it out with a cheese press, a butter churn, as cellar of some sort. Usually it did not encompass the full dimensions of the ground-level floor plan, and sometimes it was place under a lean-to rather than the main part of the house. It was entered either by a descending stairway on the outside, or through a trapdoor in the floor of the room directly overhead."

Apparently, there are still cellars that are viewable today. In the footnotes, Demos says "Cellars that presumably date from this period can be entered and observed at the Churchill House in Plymouth and the Bradford House in Kingston." Has anyone seen these personally?

Pages 34-35.

photo credits:

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Housing" Part Two of "A Little Commonwealth"

Pilgrim Housing Part Two

(But Really Part Three because "The Physical Setting" still had to do with housing.)

"The third major 'type' of Plymouth housing was really just an enlargement of the second. The crucial difference was a ground floor containing two full-size rooms, which were normally set on either side of the chimney. One of these continued to serve as the 'hall,' while the other was called the 'parlor' or 'best room'."[1]

This is interesting because this term did not come into existence until much later in Europe. So, was this indeed a real term, or one that was imparted into this scenario by the author or others? There was no citation, so it could be either. I would love to know more! Because the house was enlarged completely, this also meant that all of the rooms, including upstairs, were also enlarged.

“Two upstairs’ lofts were common in these houses, and they were usually identified by reference to the rooms below (thus  ‘parlor chamber’ and ‘hall chamber’). Since the chimney was normally in the middle of the house every room might have its own fireplace.”[2] (Again, no citation given by author.)

[1] John Demos, A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony. 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.), 32.
[2] Ibid.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Housing" of "A Little Commonwealth"

Continuation of Pilgrim Housing from the book 

A Little Commonwealth by John Demos

This is a continuation of the earlier post. Remember that this book is about Pilgrims. John Demos used primary sources such as archaeological effects, wills, lists, estate records, etc. to write his book. I absolutely love this book. It is an easy read too. 

Starting within the house, there were sometimes two rooms on the second floor, and one upstairs.

  "The main room in these single bay houses was usually called the 'hall'. Sometimes it was the only room, spanning the whole of the ground-level area. Its dimensions were not, of course, standard, but were normally on the order of fifteen to twenty feet aside. … Access to the hall often involved an entrance porch projecting out from some part of the house, though occasionally too it was through a door built directly into a wall. The former alternative was presumably more efficient from the standpoint of heating. A massive chimneystack and fireplace was the dominant feature of the hall, and indeed of the whole building. In the earliest phase of Plymouth history frame-built chimneys daubed with plaster were common, and there may have been a few stacks made from fieldstones.”[1]

I would like to point out that the larger mansions back in England from earlier times still represented the large room on the main floor as the “hall” and would sometimes even be called the “grand hall”. This looks like a semblance of grandness trying to be imposed upon a small dwelling to make it feel more acceptable perhaps. What do you think?

“Many of these single-bay dwellings actually included two rooms on the ground floor. This was managed simply by walling off one end of the hall with clapboards or some other form of planking. The resultant compartment was usually known as an ‘inner room’…. In England the ‘inner room’ was most often used as a service or storage area; sometimes, in fact, it went by the name of ‘buttery’. But in Plymouth the typical pattern seems to have been somewhat different. From the evidence of the inventories it frequently contained a bed and bedding, and very little more. Occasionally it was the principal bedroom, judging from the presence of a ‘furnished’ or curtained bed.”[2]

When the house had more than one story, the loft was called the “upper room” or “chamber.”[3] According to Demos, this room was usually used for other members of the family to sleep in, thus, the term “chamber” I would suppose. Access to the chamber was either a ladder (which makes sense to me because I have seen the ladder from Little House on the Prairie! Yes, I know different time, but can’t you just see it?!) Others used a steep staircase set up against the fireplace.

Demos says that the inside walls were clapboarding or wainscoting. None it, supposedly, was glamorous or grand. Floors were wooden, which was, again according to Demos, more of an advantage to their counterparts in England. There was a wood shortage occurring in England (of which I have read in more than this source), and so the floors were either earth floors or plaster floors.[4] I would think that plaster floors would actually be worse than earth floors. They would peel, I would think. Does anyone have any idea?

[1] John Demos, A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony. 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.), 30.
[2] Ibid, 31.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid, 32.

Friday, March 22, 2013

My First Visit To "Traveler's Rest"

For Something Like Ten to Fifteen Years

I just joined another local Regency Group here. It seems like these groups have popped up overnight! But how so wonderful! Apparently every other Thursday there is a sewing circle at Traveler's Rest. This week was my first visit. While I didn't have anything to sew (I just finished my shoulder blanket and I had to purchase some leather needles to start the moccasins, my ribbon embroidery stuff isn't in yet and I don't have the items to start my new stays, etc. etc.), I still had a fun time. I learned a lot from Tonya, who is the Education Director there at the mansion. And, I am certainly looking forward to meeting everyone else and learning a lot!

The fotos are as follows: Tonya, Cayla (who apparently doesn't like to take pictures, so this is an amazing shot!), and John, who was just as cute as can be. These pictures were taken in the gift shop that is currently under reconstruction (notice John in his fancy painting stance). Then the entry and exit,the visitor's center, the school house, the walk to the main house and a closer up. Dusky pictures are so romantic, don't you think?


Thursday, March 21, 2013

"The Physical Setting" of "A Little Commonwealth"

The next few blog Posts will be on the book 

A Little Commonwealth by John Demos.

This book was one of my chosen books for my class on American Historiography. I am so happy that I chose it because John Demos really packs quite a bit of information about the houses of Pilgrims within this work. He asked questions like "Is, then, a twentieth-century sieve equivalent to a seventeenth-century one?" He also asked “Did their possessions impart prestige? Did they serve as mementos of a more genteel past or as symbols of the hope for a more ample future?” Were they simply a good financial investment?[1]

“The history of domestic architecture in Plymouth is a history of steadily growing diversity, so that by the end of the century the distance between the most humble and the most capacious houses of the colony was quite substantial.”[2]

There were three major types of houses within the Pilgrim settlement. The first type was the types that were used in the beginning, and only the earliest parts of the settlement. This was “a small crude, one-story building, without a real frame and built chiefly of wattle and daub.”[3] This was called a cottage, but was really a basic hut structure. “Its chimney was made from logs covered with clay. It possessed few, if any, windows.”[4] Regarded as a temporary type of shelter, there are none today for visiting.
(obviously this is wrong, though per Demos)

In 1623, the settlement has twenty-three houses within the second type of housing, “four or five of which are very fair and pleasant… The houses are constructed of clapboards, with gardens also enclosed behind and at the sides with clapboards, so that their houses and court-yards are arranged in very good order.”[5] They were “solid frame-type structures.”[6]

The third type, the type that I think most of us are familiar with, were “a simple story-and-a-half, single bay specifications.”[7] This type was considered low-class in England. However, because it was simple to create, and it took the heavy snows well, this became a great type of house for the colonials. “Most of the settlers achieved as individuals a fairly respectable standard of living” so they were not the poor of England, nor were they the derelicts of the society. Interestingly these houses had their clapboards placed verticly. There were very little windows, and if they did have any, they were usually made from cloth or oiled paper early on, then later there were glass. The well-off had the leaded casement windows. Because there were not very many windows, candles had to be burned within all day. I would think that the chimney may have been lit too!

I would also like to make an interesting point that I noticed. These houses were tight and closed off, and the author states that “the low ceilings and dark walls would have only have intensified the feeling of oppressiveness…. Of sunlight they had plenty, during long days at work in their fields. Of ‘fresh air’ they had likewise more than enough. Their houses seem to imply, and were meant to imply, a radical disjunction between the natural and the man-made environments. To them, Nature was no long-lost love to be courted and admired at every opportunity. To them, indeed, she frequently presented herself in the guise of antagonist, and they saw no reason to try and make place for her in their homes.”[8] This would later be the complete opposite as the Romantics brought the nature of Nature into their living spaces.

[1] 22-23.
[2] 25.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] 26.
[6] 27.
[7] Ibid.
[8] 29.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Caesar's Death" Tapestry 1637

Tapestry From the Art Institute of Chicago 

So, I thought that I would share some more photos from my fabulous date with John a while back. This Tapestry is HUMONGOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never seen a tapestry this big. When you stand next to it, you have to look up so hard that your neck is kinked like you are looking at the ceiling. It also happens to be the most beautiful that I have seen. Some of you may have seen some just as grand, but this one takes the cake for me. I took all three photos, but here is the information from the Art Institute's website.

Information below is from Art Institute of Chicago
Caesar's Death Makes Cleopatra Mourn from The Story of Caesar and Cleopatrac. 1680
Wool and silk, slit and double interlocking tapestry weave
302.1 x 362.4 cm (119 x 142 3/4 in.)

Gift of Mrs. Chauncey McCormick and Mrs. Richard Ely Danielson, 1944.9

Great T-Shirts and More!

See other gifts available on Zazzle.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...