Saturday, April 30, 2011

Historically Incorrect Club Holds First Meeting...

 OK, what happens when you get two Aboriginal Anthropological Historians, and two Anthropological Archaeologists and one Historical Librarian with over 100 years combined Native American Research together to discuss correct Aboriginal pre contact Native American clothing?

Patty, Jen, Patty's Sister, Me & Sheila

Silly, non-period correct, Electric Blue Suede Hippy Hats.

You see, nothing says "Serious Discussion Group" louder than a bunch of silly hats. It shows we take our subject matter very seriously.

It shows the immensity and importance of our knowledge in our area of study, plus our no nonsense approach to examining the past in a sober and dry manner.

You see,  if you are a stickler for authentic reproduction period clothing you tend to spend much of you time creating, studying and wearing what's right, with no compromises, no quarter given.

Soooooo, when we decide to go incorrect, we go all the way and cap ourselves in the attire that would most seriously offend the Historically Correct.

Patty, Sister, Jen, Lil' Griz, Me & Sheila
Thus, the Blue Suede Hippy Hats. We even got our resident Historically Correct Mad Hatter, Lil' Griz, (who had the afore-mentioned hideous hats hiding in the back of his van behind the incredibly well made custom hats he is renowned for making), pull them out for us and join us for a group picture in his own personal incorrect Hippy Blue Suede Hat.

We created our own "Historically Incorrect Blue Suede Hippy Hat Club" and are seriously thinking of tracking down those "Red Hat" Gals and giving them a "History Lesson" they will never forget.

Maybe not. With all the research we do, we seldom have time to "chastise" anyone but ourselves for not doing the proper documentation on a particular garment we are studying and re-creating for some ungrateful Educational Event in Anytown, USA that thinks Disney's "Pocahontas" is a true-to-life documentary.

Now, if you don't get the humor of this situation, just show it to your nearest anal historically correct type and they will explain it to you between gaffaws and helpless tears of laughter.

Resident Skunk Hat PVC Pipe Staff Goddess, Ava
And just when we had patted ourselves on the back for having offended every Historical Researcher of the Genus Librarian, we ran across our Always Historically Correct Event Photographer, Ava Francesca, sporting this outfit featuring a plastic PVC staff and shamelessly chintzy artificial skunk hat.

She beat us out for the title on points for tastelessness, cheapness and outright offensiveness in every category, including carrying it all off with an air of superior regalness that we could never hope to muster.

Kudos Ava, for shaming us all before the public with a uniquely Individual Achievement in the area of Historical Incorrectness......we gracefully and properly curtsy and graciously tip our Blue Suede Hippy Hats to you in a most proper and correct manner.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Elk Hides Are Coming! Brain Tan On The Way!

The biggest elk hide, not smoked yet
I just received an Email from Loren and Lisa of Circle S Leather, they are just about done finishing my brain tan Elk hides to make my recreated regalia based on John Whites watercolors of first contact and an Elk hide dress gifted by tribes people to a good friend of mine in Florida, who graciously lent it to me for study.

Mia's dress revealed the secrets of the over-the-shoulder garment, it's construction is simple, yet there are small nuances that make this garment drape properly.
This is the small, thinner-16.5 foot hide
Regalia I am Recreating

This is an exciting project, one I will be working on at Events we attend this Season, stop by and see how I'm doing!

I had hoped to have the hides by Bloody Rendezvous, but I am patient, all good things come to those who wait.
Watercolor drawing "Indian Man and Woman Eating" by John White (created 1585-1586).
Loren & Liza Stallsmith
Circle S Leather -

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Forever in Blue Jeans...Well, at Least Back to the 1600's

(I am reprinting this article from our travel blog, due to its timeliness and popularity). This would come under the category of "Everything Old is New Again", Where did denim fabric originate? Most claim it's appearance was around settlement times, in the days of cowboys and the wild, wild west in the late 1800's.

Not so my acid washed, bell bottomed, bikini top wearin' friends, (Oh yeah, you may not wear them now, but you did then and I know it!).

Even the poor had fashionable split sleeves of the day!
Turns out Denim has been the durable fabric choice of the masses for Centuries as this anonymous Painter aptly named, "The Master of Blue Jean" illustrates in his wonderful painting of ordinary people of the 17 Century.

There are more paintings to study on the link I have provided.

Here's a stray thought on the worn clothing that hasn't been mended by a woman who obviously can sew, do you think it was actually the style to wear them frayed and worn as it was in our day? This family is shown street begging in another painting, the torn denim sorta completes the look, if you get my drift! I love her homemade "French" hood!

Since it was denim, it was never worn by more affluent folks and then handed down, this was "ready to wear" made for regular folks, note the fashionable "Split Sleeves" of the time! Being poor didn't mean you had to be out of step with fashion!

What a treasure these paintings are to those of us who portray the past and struggle because so few ordinary, everyday people are shown in paintings, and we can't all the Queen or her Royal Court...we are mostly portraying Merchants, Musicians and Explorers with small means with which to clothe ourselves.

Not to say the everyday people who first came to this continent didn't dress themselves well, many of them were paid to come here, and a rich supply of clothing was part of the deal. "Two Centuries of Costume in America" Volume 1 (1620-1820) is a fantastic reference that includes ship manifests and letters of communication between Settlers and Continental Kin on the most pressing subject of the time: "What Are They Wearing Back Home and Can You Send Me Some?"

I have provided the link to the free download of this book, which can be read on your computer or your favorite reading device, complete with illustrations! Just click on the link provided and surprise yourself at the extent Women and Men made to dress themselves well even in the "Wilds of America"!

Here is a dress I especially like and hope to endeavour to make myself soon: The Petticoat was actually quilted! I'VE GOT TO HAVE THIS DRESS!
Not Exactly the Pious Pilgrim Wear we have been told about!
Note how the basic pattern of the dress goes back to the middle ages, with very little change to the bodice through the centuries, mostly changes were made to sleeves and collar lines. but you'll find that out for yourself when you download the book.....happy research!

Oh, just in case you need your illusions completely shattered about what women wore in the 1800's, you'll want to get the book, "They Saw The Elephant", which sadly is not free, but a priceless look at the Hardy Women who went west to pan for gold and..(GASP)...wore pants. Thank you to "Snakes" Lady Lauri for lending me her copy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Doyle Does Shakespeare

Doyle Does Shakespeare, Name that Play.....

Wisconsin Flooding Forces a Different Route

It seems our plans for staying in Prairie du Chien on the Mississippi have changed, our site is under several feet of water and will be uninhabitable for the next couple of weeks.

That being the case, we have come up with an alternate route to attend our next four Events without having to stop by Prairie at all!

We all know this building!
We will Stay in Dodgeville for a couple of weeks then swing down to Woodford for Bloody Lake, then head Northeast to Horicon for Living History Days the next week and on to Black River Falls for Lost Falls Rendezvous the following week.

We then top it all off by heading to Cannon Falls the following week for the Cannon River Rendezvous, then a welcome week or so down before Prairie du Chien Rendezvous on Father's Day weekend.

Villa Louis still high and dry
The Stockade as water rises
Whew! What a schedule! But at least we are back into the swing of things, and not having a "Homebase" to report back to  is actually working for us, this way we have our home wherever we are and don't have to make special trips just to maintain a house.

I thought you might like to see the current flood pictures of Prairie Villa, site of the Prairie du Chien Rendezvous. Nothing unusual about this site flooding from year to year, but this year is the worst in quite a while, even worse than last Falls flooding.

The stockade at present crest
We are still holed up just out of Galesburg, Illinois and will leave tomorrow for Dodgeville, WI staying at a great little campground we have visited before in our wanderings.

It's supposed to get down below freezing tonight here and even colder up North, the campground at Dodgeville reported they have a few inches of snow to melt off, so we are in no hurry!

The road leading to the Rendezvous site
WE hope everyone is safe and warm, hope to see you all soon!

Friday, April 15, 2011

3 Pints Gone Sing at Bloody Lake 2009

Band Members:

 Bill Masino

 Kathleen Masino

Jesse Linder

3 Pints Gone perform their Celtic traditional-style folk songs at bars, Celtic fairs and Renaissance festivals around the United States.  Their distinctive sound is full of high energy and harmony-rich arrangements.  They entertain by telling stories through the songs that leave the audience feeling like old friends.  They have recorded much during time called
3 Pints Gone
and also their 10 years as Wild Mountain Thyme, click here for examples of their music.

Three Pints Gone Website

3 Pints Gone itunes link
Amazon link

Faire Wynd's Circus, The Scites' family

Faire Wynd's

This unique troupe specialises in family entertainments because they ARE a family! Dad, Mom, the Son, and the Daughter. Between them, they are a Prestidigitator, Musician, Ledgerdemain, Glass Harpist, Conjuror, Escompteur, Fakir, Gully-Gully, Escapist, Samnimbulist, Equilibrialist, Contortionist, Jongoulier and any OTHER word that sound like they are important!

Specialising in historical entertinments they have performed in 27 states and over 600 events in the past 14 years! They invite you to see more from their three styles of shows including their original 18th Century Faire Wynds Circus, the 19th Century Prof. Chalmers Bodkin-Childs Amazing Patent Medicine and Magic Show, their 20th century 1942 USO Show: The Magic of the Times, and their Renaissance Festival shows Arlequine's Nightmare, or Humanity At It's Best! and new: Ye Olde Medicine Show, or The Doctor Is Real In! And, for any occasion: Virginia's Vermin and Flea 
The Human Vesuvious!

The Scites family began in 1984 with the marriage of Eric Paul Scites to Susan (Danner) Scites. They added to the family in 1987 with the arrival of Corwin (Cory), and again in 1990 with the entrance of Virginia (Ginny).

Eric began Faire Wynds Historical Entertainments in 1994, adding Cory to the act in 1998, Susan in 1999, and Ginny in 2001. Today they perform at festivals, faires, schools, libraries, museums, cultural events, and art shows, as prestidigitators, legerdemain, conjorurs, mountebanks, jongouleurs, musicians, magicians, fakirs, contortionists, equilibrialists, and mentalists in over 23 states per year!

Their goal is two fold- to entertain modern audiences, and educate them about the past entertainers. Their shows consist of renaissance, 18th century, 19th century entertainment, as well as modern illusions and entertainments, both big and small.

If you wish to contact them by e-mail, phone or letter: or you can click on their link here:

Faire Wynds
147 Mulberry Avenue
Pomeroy, Ohio 45769


Email: A Tool For Our Trade

Le Loup, an English Woodsman from site
I have been using Forums for everything from learning about and building computers to researching ancient history for decades now, and have always felt that the various "Bulletin Boards" and "User Groups" websites we have used as reenactors in the past are not only difficult to use, but leave much to be desired. This is why Facebook has become so popular among Living Historians, but it too is not exactly what we need.

I was about to contact a good friend of mine to create a forum especially for us when I stumbled upon this little used but very well built reenactor forum. I joined up and checked it out thoroughly, they have everything we need to communicate with each other and share events, blogs, websites, resources and meet new Folks who live and breathe history.

The reason Forums are more user friendly over "User Groups" and "Facebook", is that even if you post all your information you aren't getting your message out to the general public. Forums, on the other hand are searchable by web crawlers, meaning, if you post something interesting on the forum, it will appear in "Google" or other search type engines, whereas if you post to a User Group or Facebook, the information stays within the site and is only accessible by members of that particular site.

Not that I have anything against the well established user groups, bulletin boards and Facebook, I love them and check them regularly and will continue to do so.

Forums are a way to reach not only people who share the same interests but the public, (who are the bread and butter of our Events), and those who are curious about what it is that we do and want to become what we are. We all know we need new blood, and this is a way to create interest.

I suggest everyone visit this site, check it out, sign up and book mark this site and check back to it often as more of us sign up and begin to use this friendly resource if you are looking for an effective way to promote our way of life.

I see some of our friends are already there, "Smoke and Fire" as well as others. Click on the link below and check it out! I have added the link to our web page just above the calendar so you can easily jump to their site from our page when you visit us.

This site has been relatively unused, it's the perfect compliment to our lifestyle, I see that it gets many curious hits per day from the public, if we all get to posting and listing ourselves, I'm sure it would take off. I recommend the thread:,4.0.html as it has a Vendors section that is all but empty!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


This is a New Event for Us...
Sounds like a Great New Event to Teach History and have a Great Time!

May 13 - May 15
Time: Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday, 10 am to 3 pm
Plans are underway for the The Horicon Historical Society 3rd Annual Horicon Living History Days. Buckskinner's Encampment
Native American Artifacts
Three Historical Buildings
Visit the Satterlee Clark House Museum
322 Winter St, Horicon.

Horicon Living History Days Facebook Page

Horicons Event Page on Face Book Also 

Friday, May 13 School Kids Day

Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday, 10 am to 3 pm

Discher Park and Satterlee Clark House Museum and Grounds
800 N. Finch St. and 322 Winter St.
Horicon, WI

This will be our first time at Discher Park. The park is only 1 block from the Satterlee Clark house museum and is a nice lay-out. Lots of space with several historic buildings and a stones throw from the Horicon Marsh.
Early Set-up available starting Wed.the 11th. The camp fee will be $10 for campers and $25 for traders
Tear-down as late as Monday the 16th.
Plenty of on-site parking and a tin-tepee area are available
**Dog owners must provide proof of insurance as ours will not cover them**

A Little Backround Info on Horicon

Horicon is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States, covering over 32,000 acres. It's a critical rest stop for thousands of migrating ducks and Canada geese, recognized as a Wetland of International Importance. It is also a gem among the points of interest that lie on Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail
Horicon is the source of the Rock River, where three small branches conjoin to form the river that empties into the Mississippi only a mile or two from my Iowa home. We followed the route of the river on our journey to Horicon, tracing it from end to beginning.

May 13 - October 23
Time: 1:00PM - 4:00PM
The Satterlee Clark House Historical Museum, 322 Winter St, Horicon, will be open again in 2011. Check back then for specific dates and times. The Horicon Historical Museum is composed of three buildings, including a one-room schoolhouse. It offers a wide variety of exhibits, such as early farm equipment, an arrowhead collection and photographs of Horicon's past. The museum also has a microfilm collection of county census records and local newspapers for those who are interested in doing research. There is also an in-house flea market for bargain hunters. There is no admission charge.

May 5 - October 27
Time: 7 am to noon
Fresh Vegetables! Fresh Fruit!! Fresh Flowers!!! Fresh Salsa...oh the list could go on and on what you can pick up at Horicon Farmers Market held in the parking lot of Bethesda Thrift Shop. Stop by any Thursday from May through October. 


Monday, April 11, 2011

Doyle In a Dress, History Gone Wrong

Lost Falls 2010
Doyle always says "It takes a Real Man To Wear an Apron and Know He is Still A Real Man"

But this goes a little beyond that, one has to be extra confident to actually don a Woman's dress and lark about camp.

Here are several examples of Doyle being Doyle at various Events we have attended.

The worst part about the first picture to the right is Doyle cavorted around camp in my dress for the better part of an hour.....and no one noticed!

Even in civilian clothes, Doyle is always ready to add that extra special hat to set off the rest of his outfit.

Here we tries on a mop cap I was making..

At Home in Prairie 2008
Prairie du Chien Rendezvous 2009
Below we see Doyle trying on a very nice apron gifted to him as JR, (rest his dear heart), looks on baffled at the complexities of Doyle's multi-faceted personality.

Booshway Tom is making a quick escape behind him before Doyle gets the notion to dance.....
It's Red Birch Root Beer Folks..or is it?
When Doyle gives you THIS look, it's time to put the camera down and run.

Suffice it to say Doyle was having a bad day, so I being the supportive, loving woman I am, grabbed the camera and took some pictures!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kitchen Changes for 2011

I am very excited about this season, it brings many changes for myself as well as the kitchen.

First of all, Doyle is doing great and looking forward to getting back in the "groove", we have a few new Events this year to look forward to and we have a new Full time Employee named Connie, she worked for us a few times last year and is on board for the season, and maybe beyond! She is a Godsend!

As far as I go, I have some great projects I'll be working on when things are slow in the Kitchen, (HA!), I plan on creating a one shoulder leather dress from brain tan Elk, as well as recreating a leather strap dress from Deer brain tan.

The Elk dress is a go, I'm just waiting for the hides, the strap dress is on hold until I can get to the Chicago Field History Museum to examine the genuine article they have stored away there.

1820's Day Dress

1700-1800 stays
I am also changing my wardrobe, (It's about time, most of my stuff has seen better days!), I am studying "1820's Romantic".
I need to hand make a new set of stays for both projects as well as design the clothing from patterns...I can't wait to get my mannequin "Josette" out of storage!

The 1820's was marked by the dropping of the Regency empire waistline, (yet not quite to the natural waistline), and the addition of "Mutton" sleeves. 

They still had the soft, relatively un-boned corset of the Regency and before era. Also the skirts were heavily quilted and corded to get them to spread out.

I could use that comfort, and I also like the idea of wearing clothes that only lasted a short time history wise. No one seems to wear these garments today.

Should be a fun project!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

English Calico's of Irish artist William Kilburn (1745-1818)

About the Calico Colonial American Women Imported from England
Irish artist William Kilburn (1745-1818), was an illustrator for William Curtis' Flora Londinensis, as well as a leading designer & printer of calico. A few hundred originals of his water color designs, make up the Kilburn Album, housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Kilburn was the son of a Dublin architect. Because of his penchant for drawing & his delicate health, his parents apprenticed him to Jonathan Sisson, an Englishman, who had established a calico printing factory in the countryside at Leixlip.

While he was an apprentice, he would rise at 4 am to draw patterns for paper stainers, which, with his master's leave, he sold. The income from this venture gave him pocket money & enabled him to purchase a pony, on which he rode to Dublin on Saturdays, to spend every Sunday with his parents.

When his father died, he decided to visit London, where he obtained a ready sale for his designs amongst the calico printers. He also drew & engraved flowers from nature for the print shops. This led to his acquaintance with Mr. William Curtis, the botanist, who, deeming himself fortunate in meeting an artist of such uncommon talent, agreed with him to execute the plates for his great work, the Flora Londinensis.

When the young Kilburn had entered into this engagement, he returned to Ireland, brought his mother & sister to small house in Bermondsey with a garden & green-house near the Curtis nursery. There he occupied himself from sunrise to sunset drawing & engraving the plants for the Flora Londinensis.

When he finished his engraving contract, he accepted a proposal to manage a calico printing factory, at Wallington, for which he was to have a share in the profits without advancing capital. They were so successful that, at the end of 7 years, he purchased the concern becoming sole proprietor.

Because he had worked so hard to attain this position, he gave the highest wages to his workmen, some of whom came from the continent, & gave annual premiums for the best designs. He had the honor of presenting one of his pieces of printed chintz, the sea-weed pattern, designed by himself, to Queen Charlotte.

Finding that his patterns were pirated in Manchester, he applied for a bill, which was brought into Parliament by his neighbour, Edmund Burke, "To secure to calico printers the copyright in original designs."

The bill was passed in May 1787 "An Act for the Encouragement of the Arts of designing & printing Linens, Cottons, Callicoes & Muslins by vesting the Properties thereof in the Designers, Printers, Proprietors for a limited Time." Unfortunately, this "limited Time" was a period of 2 months from the date of first publishing the design. But it was a beginning.

For more biographical information see The Dublin Penny Journal, Volume 1, Number 23, December 1, 1832.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...