Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Playing Catch Up - What's been happening

I'm finally sitting down to write real blog post. I have so much to share! I had not really realized how busy things have been until this week when I actually found myself with some much needed down time.

Most of January was spent finishing up some long neglected projects in the UFO pile, and I'm pleased to report I've made it through about half of the pile. The items that are left will need to be reevaluated so I can reside what's really worth finishing and what can be reused for other projects or just tossed. I'm at the point where I really want to clean and organize the sewing room and the UFO pile is a great place to start.

Here's a look at what I've finished!

At the end of February I attended the Northeast Reenactors Fair and set up a booth for Emily's Vintage Visions along side Joani from A Timeless Collection. I had heard good things about the fair in the past but never had the change to go. This was a new experience for me as I've only done a handful of displays and vendor shows. Overall it was a successful weekend but I think I'll plan my set up a little differently next time. The Reenactors Fair was a great opportunity to meet and visit with people. One of the highlights was actually getting to do a live FB video at the end of Saturday with Joani, even if the video was sideways! Ooops!

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The first weekend of March was the GBVS's White Lightning Ball. Another fun event and one I look forward to each year. I was super excited (but also really nervous!) to debut the 1920s style head pieces I have been working on. They are made from vintage, and in some cases antique, trims and feathers in my stash. The two silver head pieces with the feather sold right away! I couldn't believe it!

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Over the last couple of weeks I picked up a sewing project I first started well over a year ago, a new 1770s gown!!! I can't begin to tell you how good it feels to dive head first back into historical sewing!! It's really my zen sewing, and yes, I'm doing all by hand. I'm using the Fashionable Gown pattern from Sign of the Golden Scissors. I've posted a few pictures on my Instagram account as well as on Facebook. There will be a proper blog post, or two, on the gown. So far I'v been good about taking construction pictures.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Book Your Bombshell Boudoir Shoot with A Timeless Collection

Have you heard about the Bombshell Boudoir Shoot with A Timeless Collection? I've posted about it on my FB page but figured I would share it hear as well. I know there has been a lot of interest so here goes!! I'm told there are only a few spots left so book yours today!

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These special photo sessions are open to EVERYONE! You don't have to be a reenactor or regular vintage wearer. The package is a great gift for someone you love or just something special for yourself. Joan is amazing to work with, will make you laugh and make sure you feel completely comfortable during your photo session. Have a look at the rest of the Bombshell Boudoir promotional photos here.

So, what does the package for the Bombshell Boudoir Shoot with A Timeless Collection include?
  • Your location of choice (you'll discuss this with Joan when you book your package)
  • Professional vintage styled hair and makeup done on location with hairdresser/makeup artist Whittney Chaplin
  • An outfit change if you want switch things up
  • Post processed images
  • Total package cost is $200
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Don't feel like you must pose in your undergarments. The Bombshell Boudoir Shoot can be any as intimate or relaxed as you we want it to be.

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Need some help with your outfit or looking for fun vintage accessories? Let me know! I'm working with Joan and Timeless to create a rental "dress up" box for special photo sessions. :) Timeless is also booking spring photo sessions for vintage couples and reenactors. These particular sessions are free, so don't miss out!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Union Station - Deployment December 1942

I am SOOOO excited to share these photos with all of you today! This photo shoot with Joan Jasset of A Timeless Collection had been in the works for literally months!!! Lots of planning, scouting locations and coordinating schedules with everyone involved but I think it all came together beautifully! I would love to hear your thoughts.

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The inspiration for this particular photo shoot came from at set of photos originally published in Life Magazine in 1943. They were taken by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt at the Pennsylvania Station in New York. One of Eisenstaedt's most famous photos is the VJ Day kiss in Times Square. You all know the one.

We wanted to recreate that same feeling, of soldiers and sailors leaving for war that Eisenstaedt captured in his now iconic photos. Union Station in Worcester, Mass was the perfect location. It had the right look and feel of the era we wanted and, for the most part, was a central location for all of us to meet up.

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Photos by Alfred Eisenstaedt at the Pennsylvania Station in New York 1943
Union Station c. 1920 - Photo from Wikipedia
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Photo from Wikipedia 
We had five couples participate in the shoot, including my husband and myself. Most, but not all of us, are couples in real life so it made for an interesting and very fun photo session. Some people had only met a few time before and one of our couple had never dressed up in vintage or participated in something like this before. We all came to the shoot with different backgrounds and ideas and it all came together beautifully!

We talked quiet a bit ahead of time about the feelings and emotions we wanted to show through in the final photos. What would it be like as a young couple or newly weds saying good-bye for the first time? How does the married couple react to yet another deployment? What happens with the husband and wife who are both in the service? What do friends and family say and feel during what might be your final moments with a loved one?

Although there were ten of us dressed up, the space we were working in was massive! Anyone passing through the train station at the time likely wondered what the heck we were doing because we spent a good chuck of time milling around so that close up shots of couples had that "busy station" ambiance in the background. I'm sure we looked rather silly at times to the outside eye. If you watched my Instagram story the day of the photo shoot you got to see a little of this.

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Joan took charge of the photo session but we were very fortunate to have two additional friends, Neal Howland and Thuy Pham taking some photos and video for us as well. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they create with their video footage.

I think these are my favorite couple photos from the session.

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The weather cooperated so we were able to take some photos outside! It was wonderful having a group of sailors, normally it's just Cori and myself. I chose to wear my WAVES uniform to put a twist on the married couple saying goodbye. One of the things Timeless is working on is building a story of individuals and couples as they "travel through time." In our very first photo session with Timeless Cori wore his Navy blues and I wore a 1940s suit. We looked at the Union Station photos as a continuation of "our story" during WWII.

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We couldn't resist to opportunity to take some fun photos as well.

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You can see the entire selection of photos from the Union Station - Deployment 1942 session on Facebook. I would love to hear your thoughts on these photos and if you have ideas for future photo shoots with A Timeless Collection. If you are in the New England area don't hesitate to contact Joan.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Northeast Reenactor's Fair

Hello everyone! I am very excited to announce that I will be attending the 2018 Northeast Reenactor's Fair later this month. The location of the event has changed. This year it will be held at the Eastern States Exposition in the Mallary Arena. They are expecting 40+ vendors offering good from a variety of time periods as well as guest speakers and workshops. 

"The Northeast Reenactors Fair was started in 2011 and has been growing ever since. The fair began as a way to bring historical vendors together with re-enactment groups. We hope that this event will allow more connections between vendors, re-enactment groups, museums, schools, and libraries. We try to include all time periods and to make it a welcoming environment for everyone.

The Northeast Reenactors Fair (formerly New England Reenactors Fair) would like to welcome you to our upcoming event on February 24th and 25th, 2018. It will be held in our new home, The Mallary Complex, Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA. With 40 + vendors lining up to represent timelines from WWII to as far back as you can imagine, this is sure to be a truly amazing event. Continuing with our great lecture series, this year’s Fair will have something for everyone!"

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For more information on the fair, including admission and driving directions, check out the main website. northeastreenactorsfair.wordpress.com

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

WAVES - Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service

Hello all, 
Wow, is it really February already? I'm OK with that because it means spring is just around the corner, and I'm ready for some warmer weather. One of the things I mentioned in my last post, one of the things all be working on in 2018 is sharing more information about the WAVES during WWII.
This is the first of several planned posts. To start, I thought I would give a brief overview of the WAVES and some basic facts. Later on I will have some more in-depth posts that discuss uniforms, various jobs, personal experiences of WAVES as well as what it is like to be a WAVES reenactor. I will be teaming up with my friend Sara from the Canteen Cowboy on some of these. I hope you will follow along!  

Recruiting poster for the U.S. Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during world War II. Illustration by John Falter, 1943.
LCDR McAfee while director of the WAVES - Source
The WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) program was created in July 30, 1942 as the need for additional military personnel grew during World War II. The WAVES were an all-woman division of the U.S. Navy with its members holding the same rank and ratings as male personnel. WAVES also received equal pay and were subject to the same military discipline as male personnel. 

The Women's Reserve of the Coast Guard (SPARS) was created on Nov. 23, 1942 "to expedite the war effort by providing for releasing officers and men for duty at sea and their replacement by women in the shore establishment of the Coast Guard". The first 153 enlisted SPARs and 15 SPAR officers were former WAVES who agreed to be discharged from the Navy and join the Coast Guard.

WAVES and SPARS duties were restricted to the continental U.S. until late in 1944, when overseas service was finally authorized for the WAVES. Even then the WAVES were restricted to the U.S. territories of Alaska and Hawaii. While many WAVES filled traditionally female secretarial and clerical jobs, thousands more served pushed the gender barrier and took on duties in the aviation community, Judge Advocate General Corps, medical professions, communications, intelligence, science and technology.  Aviation Machinist's Mates, Aviation Metalsmiths, Control Tower Operators, Aerographer's Mates, Link Trainer Instructors, and Parachute Riggers are just a few of the duties performed by WAVES during the war.

At the end of World War II, there were over 8,000 female officers and as many as 80,000 enlisted WAVES, equaling roughly 2-1/2 percent of the Navy's total strength.

Fast Facts
  •  In August 1942, Mildred McAfee, was sworn in as a Naval Reserve Lt. Commander, becoming the first woman commissioned as an officer of the U.S. Navy. 
  • Within the first year, over 27,000 women joined the WAVES. 
  • The notable New York fashion house, Mainbocher, designed the WAVES uniforms. The design services were secured through the efforts of Mrs. James V. Forrestal, wife of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. 
  • By mid-1944, the WAVES began accepting African-American women. Harriet Ida Pickens and Frances Wills became the Navy's first, and only, African-American WAVES officers in December 1944. Approximately one in every 36 women who enlisted and trained for the WAVES was an African-American. 
  • As many as a third of all WAVES were assigned to naval aviation. These women fixed aircraft, packed parachutes, provided weather information, served as link trainer instructors, gunnery instructors, coordinated air traffic from control towers and a performed host of other aviation-related jobs. 
  • By 1945, enlisted women could choose from a total of 38 different ratings in the Navy. Almost every shore establishment had WAVES on active duty fulfilling necessary military work of every kind, from general office workers and supply accounts specialists to film projectionists and drivers to dental prosthetic technicians. At the Navy Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., over half of all service personnel were WAVES. Approximately 70 percent of the Bureau of Naval Personnel was composed of WAVES. Large numbers of WAVES were assigned to the Hospital Corps where they participated in Navy recovery, therapy and rehabilitation programs. 
  • By the end of World War II, the WAVES consisted of 8,000 female officers and close to 80,000 enlisted women.
  •  By September of 1946, the majority of WAVES were either discharged or released to inactive duty. 
  • Despite their involvement in World War II and post-war, the organization was disbanded in 1948 when the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act was passed.  This new law permitted women permanent status within the armed forces.  Despite this change, the acronym WAVES continued to be used for almost 30 more years.    

Thursday, January 25, 2018

2017 Sewing Year in Review

Each year I seem to start out with a grand list of projects, more than I know I'll actually complete. Though I guess there's nothing wrong with feeling ambitious. It's fun to plan new projects but feels even better to get them completed. However, 2017 was not my year for getting things done. I need to learn to be more realistic in my goals and except that it's perfectly OK to take time for myself.

The winter months can be hard for many of us, and I admit I was struggling at this same time last year to find the motivation to work on things. I was just starting to find my sewing groove when in March, I learned that my best friend from childhood last his battle with cancer. Then in August my brother passed away unexpectedly. It's still a struggle but I'm finding ways to move forward. Anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one will undoubtedly know how important that is to do. For me it means making more time for visits with family and friends, spending time working with the horses and yes, evening working on some sewing. (Thank you again to everyone who reached out with your thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement!)

So, given the crap year I had in 2017, I'm rather surprised by what I was able to accomplish. And to be fair, not all of 2017 was bad. There were many good things that happened.

Completed Sewing Projects for 2017
1940s blue linen pants and matching bolero for my friend Beth
Red linen 1930s pants
1940s white cotton blouse
1930s denim pj pants for day wear
1940s Gold corduroy jerkin
Early 1940s wool plaid skirt
1920s ivory velvet dress

Projects Started in 2017 But Not Completed (Yet!)
1940s green linen pants and matching bolero
1940s wool plaid dress
1940s pinafore with rickrack trim
Mock up for 1770s "fashionable gown" 
1920s green silk dress

So, what else did I do in 2017 you ask? I went to a bunch of events....

GBVS's White Lightning Ball
Reading Air Show
Forth of July American Timeline at Strawberry Banke Museum
WAVES Display at the Living History Association Timeline
GBVS's 1920s Lawn Party at the Crane Estate
260th Anniversary of Siege of Ft William Henry
Collings Foundation Battle annual Battle for the Airfield  
GBVS's Winter Formal

Other Projects and Cool Stuff from 2017
I actually posted a few videos for my YouTube channel! Go me!! And at the end of 2017 I had almost 1000 followers on Instagram which is pretty cool. I'm just over that number now. :)

At the Reading Air Show I got to meet Emileigh Rogers of the blog Flashback Summer in person. She camped with my group for the whole weekend and we had a blast!

I set up my very first WAVES display this summer at a small timeline event. Visitors seemed to really enjoy it so now I'm supper motivated to continue my research and document my growing collection of WAVES-related items.

One of the best things to happen last year was starting my collaboration with A Timeless Collection. We had out first photo shoot in May, I've already shared a ton of photos from that so I won't post any more now. I have SUCH a back log of photos to share from working with Timeless, which is odd because it's normally a lack of photos that holds me back from blogging...... So yeah, look for those soon. The photo below is from our November shoot in honor of Pearl Harbor. (Yes, I'll be posting more about it soon, promise!)

With all the stress and heartache that 2017 brought, one of the things that has really helped is working with my sister and her horses. Pony therapy is the best!!! Animals really do understand. A few days after my brother passed, my sister, sister in law and I all went riding. It was exactly what we needed. Just to prove to ourselves that it was possible, even in the worst of times, to get back in the saddle. Physically as well as metaphorically speaking.

I made some really good progress this summer and I'm hoping to continue riding when the weather gets better. I rode a couple days each week and when the time a weather allowed sometimes I rode all three horses.

Looking Ahead to 2018
Other than the normal, eat better, be more organized and work from the fabric stash kind of plans for 2018, I hope to do a few more videos for my YouTube channel as well as some more live videos on Facebook and/or Instagram. I think this is a really fun feature and I know several bloggers and small businesses have had great success with it. If you have an idea for a video, let me know! I have plans for revamping my Etsy shop so right now listings are kind of slim. As I finish the reproduction items that have been languishing in the UFO pile, and get good photos of them, I will be listing a bunch of new stuff! If you are in the New England area look for me at the Northeast Reenactors Fair next month!!

Other exciting things in the works for 2018 include working with my friend Sara on a series of blog posts about the WAVES during WWII. We are both collectors of all things WAVES and we want to be able to share our research with others. I'm hoping to have the first post up sometime early next month.

I look forward to working more with A Timeless Collection this year too. If you are not already following them on Facebook or Instagram, you need to! We have a special group photo shoot planned for this weekend and I can't wait to share more about it.

So yeah, I guess that pretty much wraps up my last year. What are you plans and goals this year?
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