Thursday, June 17, 2010
Noodle- A silly, naive person. The next time you call a person a noodle I guarantee you will get a very strange look.
Nicknackery- A petty contrivance or trick. I like this word. It's fun to say and I bet no one will know what you mean.
Cripple- A swamp. OK then....Definitions have really changed over the years.
Crowdy- A thick oatmeal. This sure does NOT sound appetizing and I think children would cringe upon hearing they were having crowdy for breakfast.
Slur- To conceal. I can kind of see this one.
Valetudinary- Sickly or weak. Boy if you use this one you will sound quite well educated.
Go forth and have fun and dazzle your friends.
P.S. The phrase "tickle your fancy" came from England from around the 1750's.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
20TH ANNIVERSAY HEARTLAND ANTIQUE SHOW
SATURDAY, JUNE 5TH, 2010
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
FEATURING 150 EXHIBITORS
REPRESENTING 28 STATES
This is a wonderful antique show that has something for everyone; Country, Tradional,
Fine Folk Art, Architectural & Garden.
Hope to see some of you there!
Monday, May 17, 2010
If you have been following my blog the one thing you can tell about me is my love of early, original clothing. Jill asked me to write an article for her magazine reflecting my passion. Of course I said yes. To be associated with such an endeavor and labor of love would be a privledge. So my article "A SIMPLE DRESS" was born,(www.asimplelifemagazine.com/sneak-peek.html). I would be so very humbled if you would check it out. Jill said she wanted "something from the heart" and that is just what it is. From my heart.
"A SIMPLE LIFE" (www.asimplelifemagazine.com)is well worth your time and subscription money to be swept away to a simplier time. Well done Jill! And thank you for the opportunity to be part of something special.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
On the way home from Sainte Genevieve my husband and I came across an antique mall. It caught our eye not because it was supposedly filled with antiques but because what was situated in their parking lot. Need I say any more??????
Friday, May 14, 2010
A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of doing both an exhibition and two lectures on 18th century clothing in the historic town of Sainte Genevieve, Missouri at the 23rd Ecole de Soldat presented by The Milice de Ste. Famille. What a weekend! The town of Sainte Genevieve, on the banks of the great Mississippi River, has the largest collection of 18th century French houses in the country. Who knew? I didn't. It was settled in the late 1740's and was one of several important French towns that was known collectively as the "Illinois Country". The surviving buildings were done in the "French Colonial"style. They were constructed from huge logs that were hand hewn and set vertically to form the walls of the structure. These buildings were mortised and pegged and their massive timbers supported hipped roofs covering both the houses and the porches. Examples of this type of construction and architectural style can be found in Quebec and Normandy. Sainte Genevieve is simply a wonderful historic gem. www.ste-genevieve.com/histsite.htm.
As for my exhibit and lectures I could not have asked for a more appreciative and warm audience. The majority of the audience was comprised of re enactors from the The Milice de Ste. Famille. Their reproduction clothing was wonderful and they all had a great eye for detail. After my lecture, most of the re enactors stayed for about 2 1/2 more taking pictures of my exhibit and asking really good questions. What a fantastic bunch of people.
If you ever get a chance, go to Sainte Genevieve which is about one hour south of St. Louis. You definitely will NOT be disappointed.
Friday, April 16, 2010
I have a fascination with 17th and 18th century wigs. Especially men's wigs.
The women's were extravagant, lavish, excessive and an outlandish expenditure. Many wives nearly bankrupt their husbands by trying to keep up with this fad. The men's were somewhat more reserved. To a degree they served a purpose but mostly they were a fashion statement, a measure of wealth and class status. In the 17th and 18th centuries there was an extreme preoccupation with one's appearance that resulted in the excessive attention to clothing and hair dress. Vanity, thy name be MAN and woman. Men's adherence to current fashion was followed as faithfully by them as by women. Wig wearing was hygienic in nature. Heads could be shaved and then be washed to prevent lice. It was not common to wash your hair very frequently in the 17th and 18th centuries so wearing a wig solved this problem.
King Louis XIV of France started to wear a wig when his hair began to fall out. This started a fashion frenzy in his court. Guess poor Louie didn't have Rogaine, Propcecia or Bosley's Hair products to help him with his fallout. Anyway,the fad eventually found its way to England. Of course King Charles II in 1663 had to be fashionable so he began to wear a large black wig. Leave it to France to start all our fashion trends. Apparently Queen Elizabeth I owned 80 or more auburn, orange and gold wigs. You go girl! Some thought that after the plague no one would dare buy any hair for wigs. It was feared that the hair would have been cut off the heads of plague victims. Yuck! Apparently that did not matter because the fashion thrived better after the plague than before it. Wigs peaked under Queen Anne's reign. Men's long curls covered their shoulders and backs and flowed down their chests. The cost could be staggering. A man could buy himself a hat, coat, shirt, breeches, hose, and shoes for almost what his wig could cost. In the 18th century women rarely wore wigs but instead wore a coiffure (to arrange hair) supplemented by artificial hair or human hair. The French woman usually had an elaborate and often themed hair designs such as the boat poufs. Wigs were powdered with men's predominately white or off white. Wigs for both men and women could be colored: violet, blue, pink or yellow. Wig powder was finely ground starch that was scented with orange flower, lavender or orris root. In the 1727 the French Encyclopedie Perruquiere listed only 45 wig styles. However, in 1764 it listed 115 styles. Wig making was a BIG business. Wigs were made from human hair or they could also be made from horse or yak hair or from even hemp. During the 18th century men's wigs became smaller and more sedate and even some professions adopted them as part of their official dress. Then in 1795 the English government levied a tax on hair powder(1 guinea per year) and this started the end of the "fashion of the wig". By 1800 it had mostly disappeared.
I know that I prefer to wash my hair daily and periodically go to the hair salon to get it cut and dyed. And maybe if I ever get up enough nerve I might even have it dyed blue. But THAT is the extent of my own personal hair adventure.
ROUT- A clamorous party. In 1772 Anna Winslow: "went directly from it to Miss Caty's rout.
POT VALIANT- Brave only when stimulated by drink. In 1696 Gordon Saltonstall wrote, "Foolish if not pot-valiant firing and shooting off guns."
PORTMANTEAU- A bag for carrying apparel on a journey, especially on horseback.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Going forward I will be trying to provide love and support to Bill's wife and son. Such a sad, sad time. But also I will be giving thanks to God that I walked away from my accident unhurt. Daily I am tending to my sweet, sick Miss Hannah. She is so very trusting and has never turned on me as I give her between 5 to 7 pills per day. Nasty business! She hates those pills. And since I am co-chair for the Fox Valley Antique Show I am busy buttoning up all the loose ends and trying to get everything ready for the arrival of the 55 dealers. Then this Friday I set up my personal booth and man it Saturday and Sunday.
Once again thank you for the concern and thoughtful words you have sent my way.
Just remember that life is truly a gift.
Donna & Miss Hannah
Sunday, March 7, 2010
When I was 13 years old and a freshman in High School I met a boy by the name of Bill. Bill and I became friends but never boyfriend and girlfriend. In my junior year I met Scott who in the future I married. I introduced him to Bill and they became best friends. In college I was the reason that Bill met Nadia who he eventually married. The four of us continued to be best friends for 43 years. Scott and I are also godparents to their son. Last Monday night at 11:03p.m. I received a phone call from their son, who is going to medical school in Phoenix, AZ, that Bill had suddenly passed away from a massive heart attack. Bill was only 56! I don't need to describe the grief I feel. I'm sure all of you have suffered a loss of a loved one. Sadly I was unable to accompany my husband to Phoenix for the funeral on Thursday. I did however drive him to the airport and on the way home my van was hit by a 18 wheel semi truck going at least 55 mph. He hit the passenger side of the van,slammed me into the guard rail and kept on going. I'm sure both God and Bill were watching over me because I was unhurt. This happened only one day after my dear friend had died. To each and every one of you that read this please remember that LIFE IS A GIFT! Tell your dear ones EVERYDAY that you LOVE them and that they are precious to you. NOTHING and I mean NOTHING should ever get in the way of that and NEVER go to bed angry at one another. Life is too short and could be gone in an instant. I will miss my friend and NEVER forget him. I will also thank God every day that I walked away unhurt and alive from that accident.
P.S. Sadly I have found out that Miss Hannah has intestinal cancer. We are doing everything we can to try and beat this awful foe who is trying to steal my sweet little girl from me.
With great ceremony and a lot of meows Miss Hannah put her paw in an 1850's men's top hat and pulled out a winner. Our prize of two free tickets to the Fox Valley Antique Show next weekend and $25.00 in show play money goes to Laura of Little Works of Grace. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!
Both Miss Hannah and myself want to thank all of you who took the time to share with us some very endearing stories. Miss Hannah especially loved reading about all your treasured four legged companions.
Hugs & Meows,
Donna and Miss Hannah
Monday, March 1, 2010
Donna & Miss Hannah
Friday, February 19, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
You all know I love antiques. But I am also an animal lover. I must admit I have a special place in my heart reserved for cats. They are loving, intelligent, mischievious, independent, full of personality and the list could on and on and on.... Six furry little critters live with me; Seth, Hannah, Raven, Morgan, Linsey and Woolsey. Each one is unique and very special. Seth and Hannah are brother and sister. Seth is a gentle soul and a lover. Hannah is quite the lady and is so sweet. Raven is my black cat with intense green eyes. He is my watcher and is extremely inquisitive. Morgan has many personalities residing in her. One minute she is a loving sweet kitty and within a flip of her tail she switches to her evil twin. Linsey and Woolsey are both girls and they are identical grey twins. They just turned 1 year old and their personalities are still forming. Needless to say I have many stories about my babies. One of my favorites, which at the time was very upsetting, involved Miss Hannah. I had been busy one morning doing laundry and I went upstairs early to put some clothes away in our dresser. The bedroom was dark because I didn't take the time to turn on the light. It was an easy chore which I did quickly. Now it is around dinner time and no Hannah. I searched and searched and then searched some more. I was getting really upset. Finally I heard bump, bump, bump coming from upstairs. I followed the noise into our bedroom and then to the dresser. I opened up the drawer and out jumped Miss Hannah giving me the MOST disgusted look a cat could ever give and I swear she flipped me off with her tail. She had spent the entire day snoozing in the drawer and was quite cranky about being late for her supper.
I would love to hear about your little companions and maybe a cute, funny story that will warm all our hearts.
For anyone that responds their name will be registered in my Antiques Weekend Drawing and the entry will go in a hat. Miss Hannah will pull the winner out on March 6th. The person will win two free tickets to the upcoming Fox Valley Antique Show to be held Saturday March 13th and Sunday March 14th at the Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles,Illinois. Additionally the winner will receive from me $25.00 in antique play money that can be spent at the show.
Please leave your story and register for the drawing. I look forward to reading them all and meeting the winner at the show.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
As we make dinner reservations at some elegant restaurant, run to the candy store to buy that heart shaped box of candy and order a huge bundle of flowers I can't help but wonder about Valentines day in the past.
Some say it was a Roman celebration of a fertility festival, Lupercalia, that started on the eve of Feb. 14th. While others attribute the day to St. Valentine who was an early Christian martyr. Apparently he defied the Emperor's ban on marriages by marrying sweethearts in secret. He was beheaded on 2-14-270. In Medieval times up to the 1500's an annual village lottery was held, names were drawn and pairings were formed that lasted a year. How romantic. As early as 1533, a folded piece of blue paper with the sweethearts name written on it in gold letters has been documented. By c1610 lovers were giving their sweeties love tokens such as jewelry (posey rings and lockets) gloves, garters and silk scarfs. The Puritans tried to stop the practice but did not have much success. Even John Winthrop, Govenor of Mass. Bay Colony, got into the spirit of the day. He wrote to his wife on Feb. 14th, 1629, "My sweet wife. Thou must be Valentine, for none hath challeged me." In the 18th century exchanging of Valentines became popular. In America c1740 handmade Valentines were sealed with red wax and left secretly on a lover's doorstep. Puzzle Valentines became popular. A puzzle Valentine had a puzzle to read and unfold. Scattered among their many folds were verses that had to be read in a certain order. Early 1800's young men wore slips of paper pinned to their sleeves with their sweeties name written on it. That is how the phrase "Wear your heart of you sleeve" came from. In the 19th century tiny paper hands symbolized asking for a lady's hand in marriage. It evolved into giving his sweetheart a pair of silk gloves as a marriage proposal. During the Civil War some valentines were made like paper dolls that were acturally dressed with cloth to resemble the person sending it. Sailors would carve a stay busk out of whale's teeth or wood and decorate it with hearts and flowers and give it to their sweethearts as a love token. They also carved lace bobbins, knitting sheaths and made valentines from shells.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
In 1830 bead chains or neck chains made an appearance and only lasted a decade. A bead chain is comprised of tiny colored beads, thirteen beads per half inch compared to about seven beads today, are woven into strips, 1/2 inch wide and 40 to 60 inches in length and ended with silk ribbon ties. Not unlike samplers, the chains were worked with motifs of anchors, keys, crosses or hearts. Some had names and even phrases while some were signed and dated. They had various uses. They were used as watch chains by both men and women, others were woven in a woman's hair and draped over the forehead. At times they were made and given to a loved one. A phrase like "Forget me not" and "We part to meet in Heaven" were both sentimental and phrases of remembrance. The chains could either be commissioned or they could be purchased in a jewelry store. Sometimes they originated in young ladies' academies. These bead chains often had a religious and moralistic mottoes or had memorials and family registers stitched on them. Some of the more frequent symbols incorporated on a chain were a cross, an anchor and a heart which symbolized Faith, Hope and Charity. Others were a key and when worked in gold beads symbolized the "golden key of knowledge" - education and wisdom. A crown motif represented the ladder to heaven while birds and butterflies were symbols representing the soul and Resurrection. The three leaved clover represented the Holy Trinity.
Fashion trends over the years have taken many diverse forms. I have found this one particularly interesting and fun to research.
Monday, February 1, 2010
"SUBSTITUTES FOR TEA AND COFFEE: The leaves of currant bushes picked very small and dried on tin can hardly be distinguished from green tea. Peas roasted and ground are an excellent subsitute for coffee and you would hardly know which is best."*
"SHOE BLACKENING: Wash elderberries in a kettle of water. Set them in the shade for a day or two to ferment, then boil it half a day, adding a little water as needed. Strain the liquid and boil it down to the thickness of molasses. It will give a fine gloss with rubbing."*
"TO PREVENT FLIES from injuring picture frames. Boil three or four onions in a pint of water; then with a gilding brush do over your pictures and frames. The flies will not light on them. This may be used without apprehension, as it will not do the least injury to the frames."*
"TO PRESERVE EGGS: One pint of coarse salt, one pint of unslacked lime, to a pail of water. Eggs will keep sound and wholesome for years in this, if kept in a cool place."*
Boy that was a lot of typing and I sure could go for a nice cup of coffee. Oh yeah, I'm out. Guess I'll run down to Starbucks.
*The Pocumtuc Housewife
Friday, January 29, 2010
IRON RUFFLES are not a fashion statement. The 18th century definition is "Handcuffs". Iron ruffles sounds so much better if that is possible.
JACULATE is a variant spelling for chocolate. For some reason jaculate just doesn't conjure up something sweet in my mind. I suggest you don't use jaculate on Valentine's Day. You might not get the response you thought you would.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Apparently fans have been around since the 6th century in the Far East. The use of fans peaked in Europe during the 18th century adorning both men's and women's fashionable attire. They were elaborately painted and very detailed. Many featured dreamy romantic scences. In the later half of the century women's fans were printed with dance steps, song lyrics and card game rules. How very clever!!! Men's fans had painted bugs, like a beetle or mospuito, on them to distinguish them from women's fans. But the language associated with the fans is even more fascinating.
1. LETTING THE FAN REST ON THE RIGHT CHECK, "YES"
2. LETTING THE FAN REST ON THE LEFT CHECK, "NO"
3. THE FAN PLACED NEAR THE HEART, "YOU HAVE WON MY LOVE"
4. A CLOSED FAN TOUCHING THE RIGHT EYE, "WHEN MAY I BE ALLOWED TO SEE YOU?"
5. HALF-OPENED FAN PRESSED TO THE LIPS, "YOU MAY KISS ME"
6. HIDING THE EYES BEHIND AN OPEN FAN, "I LOVE YOU"
7. SHUTTING A FULLY OPENED FAN SLOWLY, "I PROMISE TO MARRY YOU"
8. DRAWING THE FAN ACROSS THE EYES, " I AM SORRY"
9. THE NUMBER OF STICKS SHOWN ANSWERED THE QUESTION, "AT WHAT HOUR?"
10. COVERING THE LEFT EAR WITH AN OPEN FAN, "DO NOT BETRAY OUR SECRET"
11. PRESENTING THE FAN SHUT, "DO YOU LOVE ME?"
12. TWIRLING THE FAN IN THE LEFT HAND, "WE ARE BEING WATCHED"
13. A FAN IN THE RIGHT HAND IN FRONT OF FACE, "FOLLOW ME"
14. CARRING THE OPEN FAN IN THE RIGHT HAND, "YOU ARE TOO WILLING"
15. OPENING THE FAN WIDE, "WAIT FOR ME"
What a wonderfully covert way to communicate. How flirty and romantic! I know I'll never think of a fan as merely something to use to keep myself cool during the hot summer days.
(information from Amazon Dry Goods)
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Maybe I am a silly romantic thinking that life in the past was somehow easier and fuller than the lives we are forced to live today. My goal for 2010 is to slow down, pay attention to what is truly important in life; family and friends and spirituality. I wish the following Irish blessing for all of you this new year and for every year.
May you always have these blessings...
A soft breeze when summer comes,
A warm fireside in winter,
And always the warm, soft smile of a friend.
Peace and happiness