Sunday, April 24, 2011

1852 dress decision

Very exciting news, I've picked a dress design finally.  I opted for a fashion plate (and I was bad and didn't get the site it was from :( so if you know, please share with me so I can properly credit that).  My hope is that it will start a sensation first at the Mercantile and then throughout the entire female employee mass at Columbia State Park to get away from cookie cutter dresses with pinned on aprons.

Thanks to one little facebook comment from  my friend Jenna, I'll be making the gold dress.  As of now the plan is to do the chemisette and false  undersleeves along with a new petticoat.  I'm going to do all the scalloping on the flounces, but edge them in a solid colored fabric.  I'm not sure on the overall dress color yet.  I still like the idea of using a white calico with little purple flowers; it's light and summery and still fits in with the whole "women in gold rush California all wore calico gowns because the fabric was cheap."  I'm just hoping that I won't have to make an apron for it to cover the front of the dress up.  We shall see though.  The boss ladies didn't have a problem with me not originally wearing one,  it was just a co-worker that did.

So the chemisette....I'm going to use style G from Janet Arnold (page 51) and do my own crochet pattern whne I get a chance.  The only difference is that I'll be adding little buttons  up the front.

And now I'm off to the garage to root through my fabric tubs to find enough white muslin to get this thing going.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A sure fire way

Just thought I'd share this little thought with everyone out there, specifically my fellow cavalier owners.

Recently I thought it'd be fun to get a second pup and possible get into showing them and one day breeding them.  Having toyed around with the idea for a few months, I was surprised to learn that the breeder I got Charlie from had taken her latest litter to the pet shop (also where I bought Charlie).  Our local pet shop is really nice and despite the hubbub about not buying dogs at petshops I still think they're okay.  They only sell local dogs so that they do meet the breeder and see the parents of the dogs, I know that's not stopping puppy mills though and well on withe point...

When I bought Charlie there I knew what I was getting into and I knew the stigmas.  To my surprise though, the pedigree I received when I bought Charlie (though not AKC) was surprisingly thorough and contained a number of respectable kennel names.  Most people that get a dog at a pet shop would probably put the pedigree away and never think of it again.  I had to keep picking though.  I wanted to know more.

Then once the idea of breeding popped up again, I needed to know more.  3/4 of Charlie's grandparents are AKC dogs.  They have numbers and all that checks out (granted I have not talked to those breeders).  Charlie's parents, however, are not AKC dogs.  I was confused.  In the instance of his father, how could two AKC dogs produce a dog that is not AKC?  I'm sure there are a number of ways, the most reasonable being that the littler that Charlie's sire (Tango of the Sierras) was in was never registered.  But again, why?  If he's eligable to be registered, why not do it?  Then I started thinking...what if the grandparents were sold as limited registration and never supposed to have been bred?  That would explain the problem about why the grandparents are AKC and the parents are not.

So I emailed the breeder that sold Charlie and his litter to the pet shop.  No response.  It's been several days now, and she's a local person.  My fiance has seen her driving around town.  In the email I had posed the same questions to her: why are his parents not registered?

The fact that she had not responded seems odd to me.  As a breeder that supposidly loves her dogs, shouldn't she be interested in the offspring?  Shouldn't she also be receptive to questions?  We even ran into her on one trip to the pet shop when we had Charlie with us.  We introduced ourselves and she seemed very disinterested, almost to the point of wanting to get away as quickly as possible.  It just seems odd.

Needless to say, I'm going to assume my assumptions about the pedigree are correct since she has chosen not to answer my questions.  I've also decided that I will be buying my next puppy from a breeder that is affiliated with the AKC.  It does not mean that Charlie is a bad dog or a waste of money though.  I won't be breeding him, but that means he's exactly what I bought him for: a lovable pet and good friend.

So I guess, breeders beware.  If you do not want to appear as though you have done something unscrupulous, perhaps there should be transparency of actions and an active dialogue between yourself and those who purchase puppies from you.  There comes a point where information such as lineage ceases to be private and can also be considered the property of those who buy from you since they too own a piece of that lineage.

Charlie Adventures

Hi Mom, whatcha doin?

Ooh look leaves and stuff

Maybe I can find something hidden in the pine needles that I'm not supposed to eat

Still lookin, but I'm not finding it

Hmm this looks promising

Oooh pretty flower, it's so tasty looking


Aww man I lost the point part in the grass

Oh well I'll play with this clump of grass instead

Mmm I love grass

It's just so tasty, um why am I eating this again

Snooping for something else

Hey look!  My tail is long enough to cover my face if I turn around

Maybe I'll just sit by this tree and be nice for a while

Okay I'm done with that, plus the wind is cold

I could just stand here looking pretty

Or make dopey faces at the camera

Ah yes, this antique rocking chair that my mom loves is the perfect chair for me to sleep on

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Charlie stuff

I've been working on tracing Charlie's pedigree for a while now, but thought I'd share what I'd found so far. When I bought him I was provided with a pedigree, I've just expanded on it from internet research. All the above is true to the best of my knowledge.
Francis Reginald Charles
\"Charlie Barley\"
dob 8-24-2010
Tango of the Sierras
Dacas Gnik Bentley
AKC TR38349501
Sir Bentley Wag A Lot
Oakhaven Lolita...
AKC TP30589701
Dacas Gnik Elizabeth
AKC TR86627001
Dacas Prince Edward
AKC TR95522401
Dacas Sweet Victoria
Lady Bug of Sierras
Goddard\'s Duke of Disney
AKC TR05593801
Heatherstone Sweet William
AKC TP04917801 09-01
Heatherstone Red Ruby
AKC TN86382101 09-00
CH Downsbank Rigoletto
Heatherstone Annette Ellen
Heatherstone Rhoyal Sweet Merrie
AKC TN72806903 09-00
CH Cinola Nelson
Regis Joyful Rudy Belle
Gwenevier\'s Lil Bit of Luv
AKC TN96394405
BJ\'s Toby Cooper
AKC TN391144104 03-00
Crusader Charming Charlie
Wyndcrest Cozy Cosette
Sylvancrest Lil Bit
AKC TN652628/01 03-00
Rivermead Ima Sensation
Sylvancrest Forever Krystal
Peonie Lady Sierra
Sir Higgins
G. G Hayley
Red White
Pedigree generated by

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Distraction...yet again

Well I  managed to get absolutely no costume related things done yesterday.  I spent a good 5 hours painting and managed to finish the primer and get the first coat on half of the ceiling.  Hopefully I can finish that up tonight so I can start on the pretty blue (called Port-au-Prince).  I can't stand to look at dirty plaster with spackling covering all the nail holes and cracks anymore.  I want COLOR!

The upside of not doing any sewing for myself yesterday, I've almost managed to get one of my mom's birthday socks done...almost a week late.  Eeek.  Better late than never.  Oh and Charlie was good as gold which is always a bonus.

Today seems to be going the same direction as yesterday though.  I've done no costuming, I did think about it though.  Mostly while I was attacking the blackberries that are encroaching from the swamp by our house.  Yet another thing that makes me sad, to see a perfectly good yard suffer neglect and blackberries move right on in.  I know it's not always possible to keep up on things, but I am going to make a concerted effort to never let our lovely little house get like that again.  I've got a good portion of the easily accessible ones cut now.  Problem is that it opens up the chicken wire fence and all the problems with that to Charlie.  And believe me, he does like to go exploring.  Hopefully I'll be able to start fixing things up though and make the yard safer for him.

And now, off to do some painting while I try to distract the puppy at the same time.  Then maybe I can start on some sewing stuff.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Puppy baths

Wheeew, finally got the puppy bath done.  Charlie is one of those weird dogs that actually likes to take a bath.  In fact usually he lets himself into the bathroom and tries to get into the tub while he barks at me.  So now he's running around the house like crazy celebrating being clean again.  Really makes me thankful for Frontline after watching some of the stuff that got washed down the drain.  I guess that's just life in a very rural small town in spring.
The photo is a little dark, but clearly porking out when you're still wet from a bath is necessary.  Now he's moved on to "torturing" his stuffed toys and growling.  Crazy puppy.

In addition to this, looks like today is a painting day.  I finished the second coat of primer on the ceiling now I'm just waiting for it to dry so I can put the first coat of paint up.  I'm so excited, won't be long until I can move on to the blue paint for the walls.  It's going to be such an improvement.

Looks like I'll also do some costuming stuff today.  I'm going to work on a Victorian corset this afternoon and fix a pattern I already have to fit me.  Depending on how that goes, I might also alter an 18th century or 16th century one too.  I really want to make a bunch of new ones after reading some recent articles about corset construction.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

the daily Charlie

Just one photo for the day even if it's actually from last week before all the rain.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Musings on an 1852 Easter

The Easter parade is coming up for Columbia, which means the red, long sleeved dress I've been using at work looks silly all of the sudden.  I wanted something new and made just for me and this seems like a good place to start. 

The fiance and I went to the dry goods store there today and had a look at some calicos, there was a really pretty white one with little dark purple/maroon flowers on it that I liked a lot.  Not sure that white is the way to go, but we shall see.  It was only $6/yd.  I'm planning to check another place on Hwy 49 and see what there is to see.

In light of this and the fabric search, I've also come up with a small collection of exant dresses that I  like quite a bit and might borrow for inspiration.
The above is an 1850 day dress from  I really do like the neckline of this one as well as all the flounces.  Would require a shirt of some sort for underneath, which I probably don't have time to do right now.

1850 day dress from
I love  this one a lot, but like the former, the wide sleeves mean it needs an undershirt.  The two piece construction is nice though.

1850 dress from
This is pretty standard compared to most of the dresses I've seen around the park.  I do like the wider biship sleeves and all the pintucks on the bodice.  Might not be the most practical for the amount of time I've given myself to get this done.  It is stripey though...maybe I should make a reproduction of this instead...

1846-55 dress from
Almost exactly what I'm currently wearing to work, but with a fan front bodice and sleeve caps.  Maybe not the most exciting considering I wanted something different.

1846-55 bodice from
I really really like this one a lot.  Bishop sleeves, button front, fringe detailing, plus the same kind of tucks that my current dress has.  Plus it's separate from the skirt.  I might do this one just because I can.

1842-1850 dress from
A really nice example of something more fancy than I've bene wearing.  I adore this dress.  Flounces on the skirt, interesting sleeve details, fan front bodice.  This might be the plan for Easter.

1840-50 dress from
More "bleh" that's the same as my current work attire.  Nothing special at all really other than the fact that this appears to be the dress that every single dress that everyother woman working in Columbia has or has worn at some point in time.

As of now, after uploading these and writing a few snippets about each, I'm torn between two or three.  I love the one from the Smithsonian exactly as it is, but I love the idea of bishop sleeves and the impending warm weather.  More room to breath.  I suppose I'll wait and find the fabric first and see what happens.

Friday, April 8, 2011


It would appear as though I'm changing directions in costuming.  While I still love 16th century things, there have been so many other eras that have caught my attention lately, especially the 18th, early-mid 19th, and the 1950s.  Getting a job in Columbia has only furthered that.  I get to wear a costume to work everyday!  Naturally I want to make my own and do it right and have a whole character and that kind of thing.  So in an attempt to do that  I will be starting with the corset.

I acquired a size 50 black commercial corset (yes the cheap kind) a while ago.  I decided the other night to make use of it.  I'm going to alter it to fit me by reducing the measurements by about 20+" and adding some better boning to it.  After that I will be moving on to petticoats and a shift and that kind of thing.

So, here's to earning money and being able to make things again.  The new costume plans for the year as of today are:

1. 1950s halter dress for my wedding in white satin with organza overlay and blue petticoat
2. 1852 Gold Rush ensemble for work
3. 1852 winter dress and cloak for work
4. 16th c. stays by hand using apricot wood for boning
5. a variety of corsets
6. a complete Tudor era ensemble