Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Time Is Near!

Hello Blog!
We have been MIA for some time now but everything is okay!

It has been a busy season for us with Civil War reenactments, Madrigal singing, church programs, school programs and,...the birth of our 8th grandchild, Emma Rose!

Everything seems to pale in light of the great gift of her birth. Our daughter had invitro for her first two and Emma was a surprise. My daughter says she has two miracles and a gift now or 'buy two, get one free'! God is good to us.

Wanted to post a few pics of some of our Christmas scenes around Shadetree. We didn't do much this year in the way of decor but we continue to honor the real reason for the season, Jesus, in our hearts. Pictured are our Christmas tree this year, my favorite scene in the house and the Grandchildren's Tea Table set for Christmas Tea. One grandson refers to it as 'bumping tea' when we toast each others cups.

Christmas blessings to you and your families this Christmastime and all the year 'round!
Pamela and Frank

Monday, November 22, 2010

Misi's Display Chain #9

The display challenge this week was from a suggestion I made on Misi's blog at *~1890~* Gable House Musings. As a Living Historian I wear a lot of hats,...literally! I wear simple cotton day caps to vintage black wool knitted hoods to blue silk 1860 bonnets and all in-between. In everyday life I don't wear a hat at all. Oh, I've got one of those old slouchy toboggans that I throw on in the Winter when I bring wood inside or when I want to stroll in the yard and I have a straw sun hat that I wear while weeding the garden in the Summer, but for everyday I do not wear a hat.

Here is a picture of my last year's Christmas gift from my husband. It is a Civil War spoon bonnet covered in beautiful silk with silk ties for under the chin. It features cotton lace around the brim and on the bevolet in the back. I love it because my hubby thought of it, searched for it and bought it all by himself. I plan to make a silk gown later this Winter to go with my Best Bonnet.

The picture above is a small part of my hat/bonnet collection. I keep them on this quilt cabinet in my guest bedroom. It is picturesque to see all of the hats in different hues and different heights. Reminds me of all the personalities I have met through blogging and our picturetrail site. Some are more colorful than others, some are more quiet but they are all friends with their unique personalities.

The oldest bonnet in my collection. It is called a coif and comes from the late 1600's or the early 1700's. It is a beautiful linen bonnet with cut velvet designs and wonderful golden metallic embroidery around the brim of the bonnet. I love to wonder who wore this and when. I can see a young woman drawing water from the stream or another young bride preparing herself to meet her groom. Or perhaps it is a spinster sitting in the window with her flax wheel~ clippity-clop, clippity-clop. Whoever wore it was one lucky girl and now I am the lucky one to own such a treasure.

Old black bonnet of tafetta was made for me by my grandmother in the early 1970's. I loved old country things even then and asked her to make me a bonnet reminiscent of what she wore as a girl. This ruffled crown is what she presented. It is the style she wore in the field to pick feed corn, or into the large chicken houses on a cold Winter's day to collect eggs, it's what she wore to town i south Georgia on Saturday in the rickety old wagon and what she wore to church on Sunday morning when she praised the Lord. It is simple, quilted with the stitches of love of a granny for her granddaughter and I cherish it.

Pictured above is the most important hat to me. In 1997 I had a major double brain aneurysm to erupt above the brain plate in the center of my head. None of us thought I would see another week of life but God had the different plan. I underwent the surgery to clip the bleeders and received an incision on my scalp from the center of my forehead across the hairline to below the front of my right earlobe. It was ghastly and I was somewhat embarrassed but thankful to be alive after the ordeal. My husband bought me scores of hats and turbans to wear so that I could hide the ugly scar reminder until my hair grew back in.

Well, after 9 weeks of ICU in the Neurological section of the hospital I was able to go to church, a 'day' date with my husband after weeks of pleading with the doctor and hospital personnell. The church knew we were coming. I was so glad to be off that hospital bed and on the way to my Father's House. We arrived just as morning service started. I think the sun shone brighter, the trees were greener, smiles were warmer, life was good. When I walked into the sanctuary on my husband's arm, every woman and girl in the church was sitting there wearing hats! Every color and style you could imagine. I found out later that they didn't want me to be intimidated by wearing a hat to church since I never wore one and this is the hat I wore.

At the end of service the altar was rich with praise for my well-being and everyone came around me and brought money, fives, tens and twenties and began pinning the money to my hat and my dress. I began to cry at such an outpouring of love and compassion and I sat on the front pew of the church holding my face which was burning hot with the tears of joy. Suddenly, one by one, the women and girls came to me, bent down and tenderly hugged me an kissed me and expressed their love for me and presented their hats by laying them at my feet or beside me on the bench. Each had purchased new hats for me and wore them that day so that I could feel their special love for me.

I will never forget that covering of love that day and I feel it even today though I am no longer at that church and no longer wear a hat to cover my scar for I feel the covering of God's Spirit on my life,...His banner over me is love!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Misi's Display Challenge #8 'You Light Up My Life'

Misi's latest challenge was for us to show ways we display lighting in our homes, especially now that it is getting darker earlier.

We use a mixture of electric and natural lighting in each room. If we are more 'history heavy' we light up the candles and lamps. I have to admit it is funny to be watching television with candles burning though! I love the smell of beeswax candles lit on a cool Fall day and the burnt smell that exudes from Granny's old oil lamp.
This is an Oil lamp on the dining room table. Above it hangs an antique iron candelabra that we use often, always on birthdays. One day I lit it for no special occasion and my grandson said, "Nana, who's birthday is it?"

Battery powered candle around all the old wood. I love those candles that you dip in scented wax and then dust with clove or cinnamon. So easy but breathtaking,...literally!

Whalers lamp with electricity to keep the sheep happy. I love the star pattern on the wall from the piercings in the tin. I could stare at this for quite a while.

An old porch screen candle stand my husband made for the guest bedroom. Very primitive lighting that we use often for guests. They love the ambiance that old, rusty screening creates in the bedroom.

Electric oil lamp in guest bedroom. Another one of hubby's grandmother's lamps and I have it fitted with an electric 'burner'. It adds such a romantic glow to fresh linens.

Paul Revere Old North Church lantern in the hallway with an original glass plate photograph of a Confederate artilleryman. I have two of these lamps that were official 1975 Bicentennial fixtures and they are beautiful! The picture is someone's son, maybe a Georgia boy who gave his heart to the Confederacy he loved.

Our bedroom mantle! Ooh-la-la! This is the way it is displayed year round. I love the soft reflective glow of the candles in the mirror. The fireplace surround is carved oak and original to our home. The Staffordshire dogs in the center are original and, yes, I burn a ton of candles!

The tilt top table in the hallway corner is a perfect place for a candle display. It is out of the way and convenient if I want to pick up a candle and travel to another room that is unlit.

An old make-do in husband's office made from ancient Georgia heart pine. Simple but effective design that my husband came up with. It always amazes me at the amount of light that comes from just one simple candle.

My hands doing nimble fingerwork sewing by the light of the dining room Betty Lamp with oil and a braided cotton wick. I braid the wicks from cotton sheeting and place them into vegetable oil. Colonials sometimes used precious paper twisted into a tight coil and whale oil. It works very well and we use it at nearly every Living History event we attend. The folks just love seeing its simplicty and effectiveness. I am working on another quilt right now. It will be 100% cotton in vintage prints and every stitch will be done by my hands and with a great deal of love.

The most important light in our home is a battery powered candle that sits in the window over our bed. When my daughter left home in the mid-nineties for college, I lit a candle and place it in the window and told her there would always be a light waiting for her if she ever needed to 'turn her heart t'wards home'. It applies to our two sons, too, and remains lit even today. Through many moves to different states and townships in ministry the candle always finds a prominent place in a window in the front of our house as a reminder of our commitment to our children.

You know, Jesus is the Light of the world! I thank God for His Light that shines on the path before us. I have stumbled, I have fallen, I have walked as one in total darkness but with God in my heart I walk a straight path, I get knocked down but not knocked out and I walk with sight, using blind faith. He can be your Light, too.

Pamela and Frank

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Misi's Challenge

Well, it's Tuesday and time for Misi's *~1890~* Display Challenge #7. I thought I would just post pics of some of the things I am working on for this Christmas and something dear to me that I made for last Christmas.
Cinnamon Spice Balls. Wonderfully fragrant bowl fillers made of applesauce, cinnamon and cloves. Easy and great! I have the receipt posted at A Primitive Path site.

Poinsettia Ornament made of Dried Cayenne Peppers. Simply glue dried peppers onto a cardboard 'doughnut' and string it up with a cotton twine and hang on the tree.

Mr. H. made the base for the Noah and Co. Tree. I added an artificial tree to the wooden base and made the animals of plaster of paris poured into a candy mold. Tiny 'hay bales' are raffia tied off with cotton twine.

Close-up of my tree topper angel. She lives on a secretary in my bedroom throughout the year but I place her in a prominant place on the tree. She is completely handstitiched from vintage linens. Her wings are hand quilted cotton. The face is embroidered and penned with Black Walnut ink. She holds a bouquet of ceramic flowers and silk ribbons. Her hair is white Alpaca fur. She is such an angel to me and I call her Gloria.

Full shot of Gloria with her damask overskirt.
Handmade and prim Christmas is really what keeps us in touch with the simplicity of the season. A time to celebrate our Lord with simple things.
Thanks Misi for making me think again!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Civil Folks Living History Guild

What a fun way to spend an evening!
Our Living History Guild meets at our home and we prepare period meals on the wood stove, learn a bit about English Country Dance, sing and play instruments sometimes and just give updates about our lives, the simple things that we love and our experiences with Living History.
These pics show the cookhouse and fires being prepared for the cooking, wife dancing and chopping wood.
We dined on Swamp Stew (Vegetable Beef Soup) homemade cornbread (My wife is the BEST cornbread baker in the South!) and Fresh Sweet Potato Pudding. Everyone agreed that having a Guild is Good!
Blessings until next time,
Frank and Pamela

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Peek-A-Boo Display

Misi did it again, but this time she solicited help from Robyn at Primlish to present the Display Chain.

This week it is about peek-a-boo, or hiding your everyday life items behind something prim.

The picture I have chosen is my coffee pot. It hides underneath a vintage grain bag from Ohio. I left top and bottom open, slid over pot then tied off the top with a cotton cord. Works great except for the blue digital numbers on the machine. Solved that problem by turning machine sideways.

I use an old grain sifter as my cookie cooler board and hide extra rolls of toilet tissue in an old crockery churn. The 'in use' roll sits on the dasher handle. Telephone? Well, it hides in a big beautiful round bottom basket. The only other thing I hide sometimes is my hubby, he blends in with the old wrinkled leather sofa! :)


Friday, October 29, 2010

Keeping Christmas at Richland Church

This is a picture of an authentic heelhugger casket being borne into the church by Confederate soldiers during Keeping Christmas at Richland Church. It is a performance that we do annually at the 1844 historic church which includes acapella singing, an acoustic band, English country Dance and dramatic readings from Civil War diaries, journals and letters.

Production is underway for this year's event which is December 4th and 5th. Follow this link for more information.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Misi's Souvenier Challenge

Misi challenged us once again with a thought on memories/souveniers. I began thinking about memories and how I cherish each one that I hold.

In 1997 I endured a double brain aneurysm that should have taken my life according to the multitude of doctors who worked with me. I was in the ICU in a local hospital for 9 weeks. They performed the surgery to clip the aneurysm (one sealed off by itself) and it left me with severe short-term memory loss. That is why I cherish each memory.

My wonderful husband types all of my thoughts for me as I dictate. I am able to do most anything I desire, my creativity is still intact, I can cook and clean and not be mean! I adore my husband, children and grandchildren and know all of their names and quirks but I usually don't know what day it is or what the calendar holds for me on a specific day. I know everything about early 1997 back to my first growing years even what my hubby wore on our first date but I can't tell you what I had for lunch today. I know many of the ways of the 19th century way of life and how to perform the daily duties, but events since 1997 are sketchy in my mind sort of like a collage of happenings that I cannot sort through. I cook on a wood stove, preserve my own food and serve my family and my God. God has been merciful and gracious to me and I will never forget what works He has wrought in me.

Each time we go on a visit I try to buy or locate something that will help me remember. On our last trip to Maryland Frank bought me this wonderful vintage broom. It has a Hickory handle, real broomcorn bristles and a Hickory peg at the top of the bristles where it is all wired together. The bark is smooth and wonderful and when I use it in my kitchen I wonder how many women held this tool and who might have used it in the past.

My husband made me this wonderful peg shelf to hang it on in a prominent place in my kitchen. I placed a pumpkin for the Harvest season on the shelf.

On the little carved peg I sometimes leave my Charm bracelet. OK, I know it's not prim but it is important because it is like a journal for me. If you look closley at the top you will see a bell that signifies my marriage, on the right a small sterling buttocks basket I picked up at Shaker Village in Kentucky, below that on the left a grand piano that represents my musical ability. I still teach and play piano for my church. Oh, there's a Bible, a trumpet, a pine cone, birthstones and a little angel I call St. Helen. I got her in Beaufort, SC on a trip and she is named for the oldest church there.

Yes, I have souveniers, I have my memories, I just keep them a little different than most, but thank God I have them.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Misi challenged us once again to send pics of our make-do treasures. We love make-do items and seek them out before we hunt for the 'other stuff'.

Make-do means to me, something repaired that you continue to use or an item that was made for one purpose but used in another way. My previous post was about Pink Luster and it is here again but I have added some other unique needfuls for you to check out.

An old wooden funnel that I use as a candlestick. Can't you imagine someone filling cider jugs or another filling moonshine jugs with this old primitive?

This is a crockery jug spout that I use at every Living History event. It takes the place of a funnel. Folks are intrigued that I would use something for one purpose that was destined to be used as something else. It is a little weird that I would use this for a funnel instead of the funnel above, but what would I do for a candlestick?

This faince (sp?) plate and luster teapot both bear the scars of use. Both were broken many years ago and both have the same repairs with metal staples. I love that they were loved and made to use over and over.

This Fishtail handled dough tray is wonderfully old and dear. It has a large bottom repair that is tacked on with copper tacks. The hole in the interior is massive and I no longer use it but it is a conversation piece and worked when there was nothing else to use.

The bowl rack is a new one my hubby made for me, but the bowl is a vintage one. It lay under a house in Tennessee for years until it was given to me. We wired the crack shut. It doesn't work anymore except to make our minds work figuring out the many ways it served its owners.
Thank you, Father God, that you don't just throw us out when we need mending and for finding purpose in our lives no matter how tattered and torn, abused and broken. Amen

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Two Colors Post

Misi at *~1890~* challenged her readers to make a post about Two Colors. I immediately thought of this pic from my website.
I collect Pink Lustre teaware. It is English pottery and dates from the early 19th century. I love the color, the feel, the craft of it. I especially love pieces that were professionally mended many years ago as in the teapot above with staples.

Things that are lovingly repaired and cherished are my favorites I guess because I have been broken and mended by Our Father Who art in heaven...

Pamela and Frank

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Civil Folks Living History Guild

We had our first meeting of the season at our home in my Cookhouse, a recreation of an 1800's cookhouse off my husband's shop. It was a grand time where we ate Chili and Pumpkin Crunch for dessert. Coffee and Strawberry lemonade quenched our thirsts. It is such a blessing having good friends, good food, good fellowship and great weather!
Civil Folks is a group that studies period culture of the early to mid-nineteenth century. We wear period clothing and use as many items from before 1865 as we can possibly use. Most of the time the foods are prepared receipts from the same period, but tonight is was for comfort.
We are so blessed beyond what we could ever imagine!
Hope you enjoy...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Yo-Yo Bracelets

Pam has made a new, unique and endearing item, Yo-Yo Bracelets. Our granddaughter has 'flipped' over them and came home from school today with orders for five! I guess we will have to pay her a commission!

Thought you would enjoy seeing them. Very easy to make and would be a great gift idea for any little girl. (Some boys want them too in school colors.) Pam is going to make some with buttons and bells and her imagination is flowing like an Autumn creek.


Frank and Pam

Sunday, September 26, 2010

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Proverbs 31:13

I didn't work the wool today, that's for next month, nor the flax, never spun it or worked it at all, but I did work willingly and made some beautiful Quince Jelly.

Thought you might enjoy a picture. It is heavenly tasting, sweet/tart, and beautiful when the light hits it.
I pick a large pail full at a time so I don't measure but the receipt is very forgiving. It seems like a lot of work, but it is worth it.
Quince Fruit

Quince Jelly

Quince Jelly Receipt

*Rinse your bucket of Quince fruit.
*Chop each one into quarters. Do not peel. Throw them in a large pot and include the core and the seeds.
*Put in enough water to cover about an inch or two and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer, covered, for about 30-45 minutes until they are soft.
*Use a potato masher and mash the soft fruit into a pulp.
*Pour contents into a colander that is set over a large bowl. Get as much of the juice out as you can. (Sometimes I add hot water to the mixture in the colander if there seems to be a lot more 'life' in the pulp.
*Now pour the contents of the bowl through a single piece of cheesecloth. Use a large spoon to move the pulp around.
*Now pour the contents of the bowl through two layers of cheesecloth. Use your spoon again!
*Lastly pour the contents through a tight muslin or flour sack. Use the spoon or squeeze tightly.

Measure the juice into a pot and add half as much sugar as juice. (Seven cups juice=3.5 cups sugar.) You may add equal amounts of sugar and juice if you prefer for a sweeter jelly. I like more tart than sweet.

Boil until jelly gets to around 220-230 degrees. I use a candy thermometer but I also test mine by placing a nickle size bit on a cold saucer. When it can be pushed through with your finger and it wrinkles, the jelly is ready. You can also dip a spoon and when the drips become gel like, it is ready.

Ladle into sterilized jars and leave a head space. Wipe jar rims and seal.

If lids seal it is good to go, but if they don't seal place in refrigerator and use it first.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Sarah, Plaine and Pryme

Hello All~
Wanted to post some pics of Sarah, my newest rag doll. She was inspired by the pioneers who opened the American West and stands 21 inches tall. Her features are pencilled and stitched and she is completely coffee stained and then sprayed with our wonderful homemade fragrance, Autumn Hearth. Sarah wears a 100% cotton indigo colored frock with white flower print,a blue prairie bonnet, neckerchief of brown cheesecloth and a homespun woolen apron. She is complete to her sewn and attached thumbs, feedsack drawers and 1930's vintage flannel petticoat and is entirely handstitiched with the exception of her body.

It is so fulfilling for me to begin work on a new doll and have her personality seemingly jump out at me. Sarah's soft smile and gentle demeanor are pleasing to me as a seamstress and a doll collector.

I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.