Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Polishing the Boots

Back in the day (only about 5-6 years ago...) when sewing Regency dresses were in vogue, a lady who had/has amazing skills in sewing was selling some of her garments and accessories on ebay. She was selling a pair of Regency-inspired boots and I bid up to $10 on them and won the bid.

It wasn't up until earlier this month did I pull them and out and wished to give them a little extra care. After all, they are a pretty little boot and would look great with Regency dresses or I think even could work for some Civil War reenacting or prairie-inspired outings (I read the Kirsten books and played with my doll Kirsten from Pleasant Company for hours a day as a child, and these boots look like her's...)

Contacting the wonderful owner of American Duchess whose shoes are her business, she replied by recommending some luster cream from her store to not only polish them, but soften and protect them. Just this morning I started working on a boot and have been oh so happy with how it's going.

Horrors of horrors, I pushed back my sewing machine, pulled out some scrap cotton fabric from the trash can and set to work on my sewing table. Any other table or counter in this house is being occupied, so I really had no other choice. Well, I could have gone to the garage but the lighting is quite terrible in there, not to mention cold!

Night and day difference, don't you think? And my "finished" boot hasn't even been brushed or polished with a dry cloth yet. :)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Back to sewing

Our family had a wonderful Christmas and we all ate way to much food. It was an amazement that I was able to fit into my Starbucks uniform after days of feasting on yummy things! ;P

While no progress has been made on my 1940s robe, I did pick up a fabric for a Tasha Tudor style apron. My shop has been sadly neglected and it needs more attention than my wardrobe needing another piece. I hope to pick up some more fabrics in the near future.

[Listening to a new CD while sewing...]

Keep your eye open for the apron in the shop tonight!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Menu

Every year since I can remember, we have a huge smorgasbord of food for Christmas Eve which is mainly comprised of appetizers and snacks. Our menu tonight looks like the following list. After thoroughly stuffing ourselves, we usually go out to look at lights in town and then come home to watch The Nativity before bedtime.

  • Sub sandwiches
  • Thinly sliced pears and brie cheese broiled on baguette sourdough
  • Veggies (carrots, celery, cucumber, & bell peppers) and ranch dip
  • Crackers (Wheat Thins, Triscuits, Ritz, and Club crackers)
  • Cheese (Smoked cheddar, smoked swiss, smoked gouda, pepper jack, farmers, and muenster)
  • Sliced beef from a beef log (to go with our crackers)
  • Ruffles potato chips and French onion dip
  • Homemade Chex Party Mix
  • Christmas cookies
  • Chocolate-walnut fudge from the neighbors
  • Gingerbread (cake-like)
Do any of your families have special Christmas Eve traditions? I must be off to prepare for our churches candlelight service. Since my sister is wearing a modern Downton Abbey inspired dress (an Ann Taylor find) I decided to wear my 1930s Christmas dress for the service. Now, to curl my hair or wrap it in a low bun?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Polishing the Silver

This season our family decided to "go classy" for our Christmas day celebrations. We're trading our usual cotton red mountain weave table cloth with an elegant one found on clearance somewhere last year, with matching cloth napkins (and antique silver plated napkin rings I'm contributing), and several other antique silver plated serving-ware that I've collected over the years or items that people have given to me.

Earlier this year I spotted these silver wine goblets (?) at a thrift store, and I was able to get the manager to give me a 75% discount if I bought all 10. While we don't drink wine or any alcoholic beverages, they are perfect for sparkling cider around the holidays. My dad teased me that they look like communion glasses from a Catholic church. :)

Does anyone know if glasses such as these could withstand hot temperatures? I'm wanting to make a wassail recipe given to me by a British woman who's husband was a professor of mine in college, but I wasn't sure if I should serve it in these or not.

Well, I must be off and start making the dough for our traditional Christmas cookies. Other than our party mix, we've done next to nothing in baking for the holidays. I guess now is the time to start!

Saturday, December 21, 2013


If you've ever ordered from Peasant Cottage, you most likely have noticed that I use recycled tissue paper to wrap up orders. While I'm not a "recycle everything!" kind of person, if the tissue paper has no rips or stains I don't mind reusing it. It helps keep costs down and it's fun to use various colored ones or prints. Not long ago I had a Victorian Christmas one and it was so pretty as I packaged up the apron, I almost took a picture of it. ;)

About a week or so ago I came across this fun masking tape at a favorite store of mine. Since then, I've had fun wrapping up aprons and tearing a few pieces of tape to hold the foldings together.

The other day I was working on an order and realized how LOW the shop is right now. Of course last month and earlier in this one some customers have made purchases, but even still, I apologize for not keeping up with it!  Hopefully soon I can get my hands on some fabric to start sewing for the shop.

Meanwhile, the top of my 1940s robe is completed (except for the button closure) and I'm hoping to finish it by Christmas, though it isn't a necessity.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

1930s Vogue Christmas Dress

I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Yes, I really did attempt to do those finger waves (practice will make perfect eventually...) and yes, I felt like I just came out of Downton Abbey. ;)


Pattern: Vintage Vogue 2671 pattern, from an original 1933 design
Fabric, rhinestone button, and supplies: antique store
Jewelry: silver plated earrings from Kohls
Shoes: 23 Skidoo Shoes from American Duchess
Wallet: JCPenny
Lipstick: "Shimmering" by Lancome

You know a garment was sewn right when you don't want to take it off and are tempted to wear it to church tomorrow for the Christmas Banquet. (Do I dare?)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

In Progress: a 1940s Marian Martin Housecoat

Lest you think I gave up on my vintage Vogue 1930s dress, let me assure you that I persevered and finished it yesterday afternoon. At last! :) It finished without a hitch. The details of the pattern is what makes the dress, otherwise it would be quite drab considering the solid fabric. In fact, my sister commented that the fabric looked Amish.

::ahem:: Not exactly the look I was going for!

I went with the vintage rhinestone-studded button from my stash (my camera refused to pick up its clarity, so I apologize). This way I can wear silver, black, or even pearled accessories with the dress if needed.

I can hardly wait to slip into it for photos! I have a few ideas in mine for a photoshoot, and if possible, I hope to make that happen this weekend if one of my siblings are willing to take the pictures. Stay tuned!

After I put away my pattern, teal threads, and whatnot, I pulled out my new-to-me 1940s housecoat pattern. If you've been a longtime reader, you may remember this long sleeved flannel robe I made from the same pattern (though a size smaller). My older sister now owns it, and apparently I sold it to her for $14. ::blink:: You can barely buy 2 yards of flannel for that price, let alone 5 yards!!

I'm making the short sleeved version this time around and shorting the skirt by a good 13" or so. Part of the reason is because of the vintage fabric I chose for it (an antique store find for $3) was measuring about 3 yards. But I thought it'd make an excellent robe/housecoat for spring, summer, and autumn wear.

I was hoping to use some vintage lace for the collar, sleeves, and pocket, but I didn't have enough of what I had on hand. My next consideration was white piping, but I don't have any on hand, so I chose some vintage rick rack. One can never go wrong with using it! ;) In fact, I think I almost like the idea of the subtle touch rather than a glaring white piping or lace.

Have a happy Thursday!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Christmas Reading (and an update on the 30s dress!)

Every year I look forward to reading a few of Kate Douglas Wiggin's books over the holiday season. I read about The Birds' Christmas Carol on a blog I follow, and then a friend confirmed that it was a really sweet story. Another book (not shown) is The Old Peabody Pew that is another endearing story of someone who holds onto hope and love. Romance of a Christmas Card has a similar story line of "coming home". For better written details, Lanier writes about them and a few other books that will provide the warm entertainment for your heart and mind this season.
Do you have any favorite books you always pull out to read at Christmastime?

In other news, progress is slowly being made on my 1930s Christmas dress. I'm glad I started it when I did since I've seemed to have several interruptions since then, and now Mother-Dear wants some sewing done, too.

There is an odd sort of gap so far that I'm not sure quite what to do with, but maybe when I get the facings and button sewn on it will help?

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Mother-Dear's Chicken Noodle Soup

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and feel like the north pole here! :) We've been staying inside and have begun to put our Christmas decorations. When I haven't been helping, I've been at my sewing machine or practicing/teaching violin.

Leftover greenery from the tree was made into a wreath. We placed a favorite candle in the center of it.

I simply gathered a few excess branches and made little swags for the front porch. I had them hanging on an antique dresses until the snow storm passed.

A homemade hazelnut latte
Tonight it will be sub-zero weather, if it isn't already (!) so Mom decided to make her homemade chicken noodle soup. It's definitely a favorite around here. If you're needing a comforting soup recipe, you may want to try this one out! Serve it with warm corn bread muffins or whole wheat rolls.

Mother-Dear’s Chicken Noodle Soup

2 qt. water
1 pinch of saffron
1 large onion
2 celery stalks
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 carrots
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 c. noodles, uncooked
4 c. chicken broth
4 c. cooked chicken, cubed
Dice onion, celery, and carrots. In a large kettle, put water, saffron, onion, celery, bouillon cubes, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cook vegetables until they’re almost soft. Add chicken broth and chicken; bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook until they’re done. Serves approximately 12.

Monday, December 02, 2013

The Return of the Christmas Quartet

Several weeks ago I was asked to play in a Christmas Quartet like I did several years ago with some friends of mine. The husband and wife were going to dress up in Dicken's fashion as before, but my costume has been long gone since then, (well, except for the petticoat) so I figured I'd wear standard concert attire or either be a mad woman and whip up something fast.
Unfortunately it had to be canceled since the other violinist they had in mind had other commitments each weekend this month. At any rate, it was fun to look back and see this picture that was taken after we performed an oratorio together several years ago at our local library.