Thursday, February 18, 2010

When it all goes South

Last weekend our family, along with our dear friends, the Heddens, traveled to Lake City to enjoy the reenactment of the Battle of Olustee (Ocean Pond). On the way (and the way home) we watched Gods and Generals and Gettysburg, just for fun!

For weeks, we'd been sewing and sewing and sewing so that the girls and I would have suitable dresses (as well as all of the underpinnings necessary for such clothes!). When we studied the 1800's five years ago, I'd made period-correct dresses for the girls. Thankfully, Gracie still fit in the one Jane Ellen that had worn back then, but the other girls all needed new dresses. My dear Aunt Zo-ed (who has been a Civil War reeenactor in years past) provided the Brown ladies with quite a few accessories (including beautiful bonnets and hats) and underpinnings, not to mention dresses or skirts that were cut down and refashioned.

Armed with historical patterns and guides from Elizabeth Stewart Clark, I made five dresses from scratch, refashioned two from Aunt Zoed, and made another from the excess material of a skirt from Aunt Zoed. I whipped up an over-petticoat, added cording to Gracie's corded petticoat (from 5 years ago) and made a corded petticoat for Emmy Xiang. Katie and Gracie each finished corded corsets; Katie made Emmy Xiang a pair of split drawers and I made her a pair of closed drawers, a petticoat and a chemise-shirt (complete with hooks to connect it and her petticoats so they wouldn't peek out, due to Emmy Xiang's "Joe" - her well-rounded front!).

I enjoyed drafting belts for Katie and me, a "way-cool" cape for Katie, a delicate chemisette for Jane Ellen and undersleeves for two of us. Jane Ellen was the handsewing expert, gauging skirts, hemming, finishing bodices and helping with hooks and eyes for closures. And so between the four of us, we completed two ensembles for each girl and one for me. I was quite pleased with the results.

We even had Jim duded up, courtesy of Uncle Buddy (who is a Civil War reenactor, and our "guide" for the weekend - you'll see him in many a photo below), in a Confederate uniform. Many thanks to my Aunt Zoed and Uncle Buddy who inspired us to play dress-up!

What fun was had by all! The weather, though beautifully sunny, was quite cold, but we wore (not-so-period-correct) long johns under our 1860's clothes and kept warm with shaws. Over the course of the weekned, we attended the Olustee Festival parade, a lady's tea, and an outdoor period church service; danced the cold evening away with Uncle Buddy at a Southern ball; watched while Buddy, Joel and Jim fought in a skirmish on Saturday as well as the actual battle on Sunday (in which Jim and Joel were "powder monkies," running "cannon balls" from the ammunition stock to the cannons with the Federal cannon crew). We also enjoyed shopping at the sutlers' tents and wandering around the authentic camps. Needless to say, when we finally walked to the truck to head home, we were all exhausted! Still, we can't wait to do it again!

Enjoy a few photos of our weekend.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Goodbye, Buzz...

Yesterday was a sad day for the Brown family. We said goodbye to our dear little Buzz. He was such a cute little guy. We'll really miss him....really.

What happened, you ask? We don't know exactly. What we do know is that Jim was driving the Buzz down the highway when he heard a pop (and promptly lost "power"). He glanced in the rear-view mirror just in time to see a few flames come from the hood (because VW motors are in the back). Wisely, he pulled onto the shoulder, grabbed the few belongings in the car and left our dear Buzz to his fate.

How sad he was when he called to share what he beheld. Sigh. Poor Buzz.

Still, we know that it is God who gives all good things....and it is God who takes them away. We will continue to trust in God's goodness and say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."