Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Eating, Canning, Freezing

My previous garden post was of the fabulous harvest in our Virginia garden. Now to share how we ate it and how we plan to eat it! Sadly I did not photograph every meal, but I hit upon some real winners.

The peas, beans and onions were quite basic, where I simply parboiled them, sauteed them with herbs or stir fried them. Yum!

The eggplant and green tomatoes that fell off the vine while I was pulling up unproductive plants, were done tempura style. I found a tempura recipe so they would be light and airy and delicious!

The abundance of peppers seemed to forgive the rare indulgence of stuffing them! Our favorite was chili relleno! The marconi peppers were often added to omelettes!

I made a  fig pizza.

The grapes were eaten raw until I feared the supply would outlast the demand, so I made a scrumptious galette which brought them to their immediate end.

The massive yield of tomatoes allowed for the greatest variety of experimentation.

Tomatoes and Green Beans from the Garden

My greatest goal with the tomatoes was to can them. I poured through many recipes before making my final decision. I ended up only freezing the yellow pears due to time. The larger tomatoes I canned into salsa. 
I've canned many salsas over the years, but I have since been taken with the incredible depth of flavor of roasted salsas that I get at some restaurants. I couldn't find a specific recipe for it so I decided to grill the key ingredients before pureeing them with the smaller ingredients. My thought was to try that to keep the house cooler. 
The back jar didn't quite fill up so we had to eat that one up immediately! It lasted all of 2 days.
I did 3 different sets of canning through the summer. The last two batches were roasted instead of grilled, because that was less time consuming.
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This was our favorite way to enjoy the colorful tomatoes, with country style dijon mustard vinaigrette.
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As of today I have all these jars of salsa to keep us in good supply.
I also have 4 gallon sized bags of the yellow pear tomatoes.

At the end of the season I had harvested lots of green tomatoes that I cooked into a green tomato soup with crab.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Counting Lambs Cross Stitched Blanket

I'm taking a quick break from stitching the baby breeches, which I hope to finish tonight and post tomorrow. Along the lines of the "baby" theme, I remembered this blanket that I cross stitched when I was pregnant with my son. It was a complicated pregnancy where many specialists were involved in our care. Although he was born 6 weeks early, all was well. =)

After my son's baby days my daughter took it over for her baby dolls. This blanket is filled with much use and love and memories. Time for a very gentle wash. I think it's time to preserve it for another generation of baby love. 


Monday, September 28, 2015

My Sewing Journey

Once upon a time, I was a little girl who was highly intrigued by my grandmother's sewing. I begged to have an embroidery project like hers. She taught me a bit of embroidery and crochet, even the crocheting of beads into necklaces! Soon that grew into needlepoint, crewel and the sewing of modern garments. Eventually cross stitch was added to the repertoire. Then one summer in high school, my mom enrolled me in a summer phase homemaking class because she knew she needed to keep me busy! In the three week class I expanded  my skills in embroidery and crochet. I also learned how to hand quilt!

I sewed my own wardrobe. I got married. I decorated our little apartment with cross stitches and crewels. I had babies and cross stitched a blanket and several pictuers for their room. I sewed dresses for my daughter. I sewed quilts for the new bed when they graduated from the crib.

Then we started homeschooling which led to costuming. What a fun way to teach history I thought. It was the only way to get my kids to practice their speaking skills, however they'd only dress up if I'd dress up! I was just waiting to be asked! =)

Then we moved to Virginia and after about the millionth happy trip to Colonial Williamsburg in 2 months, my kids begged me to sew historically accurate clothing for them and me so we could pretend to be a colonial family. Oh what fun we had. I confess I was quite intense in figuring out a new way of stitching and putting pieces of fabric together. After all, kids are only kids once and college was around the corner. Time was of the essence. Carpe Diem.

While learning historical sewing for the colonial era I started learning historical sewing for the other eras as well for our history presentations. For the Colonial Era I strove to be as accurate as possible since we were at a living history museum. For the history presentations I sewed as accurately as I could, given the time limitations and budgetary factors. As a result I sewed a huge wardrobe for us to wear for many an era. We had fun!

Then we had our final history presentation, 1950's, where we all choked up over the dinner table, knowing it was our last one. As excited as we all were about my kids' futures at college, we new we had come to an end of an era.


Life has been surprisingly busy with the kids away at college. I'm still sewing historically, though not with the same intensity. Now I have time to slow down and work on in broderie anglaise. I never had time for this while homeschooling!


I also continue to enjoy  my other bits if needlework. I have these lovely historic pin balls and pincushions that are kits that I mostly purchased at Colonial Williamsburg. I've already started the strawberry one with Queen's Stitch!


Last year was simply too lonely so I have recently joined a quilt guild! Oh my goodness! These are the greatest bunch of ladies ever! A few years ago I was invited to an 18th Century Sewing Bee in my part of Virginia, but that sort of fell through. The contact info between us got lost. =( Oh well. Anyway I'm in a quilt guild now and I'm researching historic quilts while sewing contemporary quilts...and refining that muscle memory from all the hand quilting I do that I can carry over into my historic sewing! I'm currently handsewing a Hawaiian Quilt!


My daughter and I need new clothes, but my daughter needs them more, so I've been sewing new blouses for her! I've mainly been using fabric from the stash to make my closet easier to fill with more fabric access. The new blouse she is wearing today already received two huge compliments with hints at wanting their own! I haven't posted any of the blouses yet because I've had serious laptop issues, but I hope all is well now so I can focus more on sewing and blogging! Lots of sneakpeaks are on my facebook page, Teacups Among the Fabric

By the way, I know it might seem as though I fell off the face of the earth when I deleted my Teacups Among the Fabric blog, but maintaining two blogs was blowing too many of my brain cells. It's taken a long time but I nearly have everything caught up over here and have reinstituted the name of my old fabric blog on my facebook page so I can share more about my historical sewing. Sometimes I lapse into sharing quilting and modern sewing because that is sometimes my currently active project and I've been going back and forth on my theme.  However by finally getting my poor laptop reorganized (after double, triple and quadruple duplicates in my files, photos and bookmarks, much of which was my historic sewing research) I feel as though I'm breathing again! =)

Oh! I also sewed 1950's outfits for my daughter and me for a Sock Hop in August, that was sadly canceled. It was supposed to be rescheduled for this month but we are running out of September. Oh well.  Sneak peaks of that are also on my facebook page. I'm still catching up on blog posts from my busy summer! Lots of history and gardening and sewing and of course...historical sewing!

Thus I have reformatted my blog to show that I'm indeed the seamstress of many historical items. I decided to do this at the last minute last night when a quick glance at google analytics showed me that 98% of my readers read about my historical sewing. I plan to redo some of the posts, because in a recent computer reorganization, I have found all my old bits of information about some of my work.  Hidden photographs have been discovered as well!

I'm also keeping the homeschool stuff because this is how I started my blog, how my readers first came to me and was an integral part of my life, that opened the doors to my historic sewing. However the labels are more minimal to make  room for more sewing labels.

I don't have a lot of tutorials because I am still in the learning phase. Also all of the classes I took through Colonial Williamsburg and Burnley and Trowbridge are copyrighted. So no tutorials there. However I CAN say that if you can budget for sewing classes through them, it would be worth  EVERY SINGLE PENNY ! I however, am a bit of a dunce and have asked some super dumb questions (no wonder they give me such odd looks). I am slow. But  my how much I have learned overall. I think I'm a bit of a slow learner when it comes to historical sewing, but it's now in my blood and I can't bear to end the journey. So your best resource is not me, but the Colonial Williamsburg tailors and milliners and mantua makers!

To  that end, there will be mistakes found in some of my entries. Some of that is merely  my sewing journey. As I progressed, I learned more and I changed my wording to reflect that. I think it's important to remember that we all start at the beginning...and no one knows precisely how anything was done in the past. Therefore, we journey along and learn as we go, ever striving to improve a bit here or there.

Did you know that I'm a moderator for The Dreamstress at The Historical Sew Fortnightly/Monthly? That is our mission there as well. We seek to pick up our needle, thread and fabric and journey into a grand adventure to discover how garments were sewn in the days of yore. It's a process. Not an end product. We are learning. I like that!

I'm also going to try to re-add my Pinterest button to my sidebar. It will be links to my blog, quite frankly because after a bit of research I learned that legally the safest way to use Pinterest is to use our own photos. Therefore all the links to my blog are on the Pinterest page. I'm working very hard to keep my blog a product of my own work instead of other people's work. However I will gladly share links to great blogs and websites, museums, collections, etc as I possibly can!  I love to brag on people! It helps to make this world a happy place! =)

A Summer of Bountiful Garden Harvests

Last spring we started a vegetable garden, our first in Virginia. I've had several vegetable gardens in Texas, but the seasons for growing are quite different up here. Having had a busy summer, and not certain of the outcome, I hesitated to post updates. However the yield was quite good in the end! Even so, we had to cut some losses. Below are the dates of the harvests...




6-26-15 The onions pretty much disappeared in the soil. I soon gave up on the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, beans and peas, since they were producing little. I ripped them out of the garden to make room for the tomatoes that went out of control. I really shouldn't have planted so many tomatoes, but I couldn't resist. Too see the original map of the garden plot, read this post.
There were truly too many tomatoes in the garden...but they looked so hopeful!
I loved all the heirlooms...

There were even some plum tomatoes...

...and lots of yellow pears.
And not far away the figs were growing! I never got a photo of all the figs we harvested, but we had our best yield this year, though it was still too piddly to do any canning.

7-1-15 The first heirloom tomato from the vine!
I couldn't believe how big it was!
7-14-15 I never did get photos of everything I harvested...especially of these.


I've already posted a yummy recipe for Canadice Grapes!
8-11-15 An orange tomato!
128da 8-11-15
128e 8-22-15

128f 8-22b

128g 8-22c


155 9-17-15
And still the tomatoes were producing!
156 9-17-15

160 9-28-15

Now for number crunching. I labored to keep up with precise numbers of the harvest. A few times I did forget to count. Thus, according to my best calculations my yield was...

Orange Bell-3
Sweet Marconi-26

Golden Pear-33.2#
Green Onions-2

Green Beans-.5#



Sunday, September 27, 2015

Technology Update and Blog Change

My laptop has returned home and my files, photos and bookmarks are organized at long last! It's wonderful to finally be able to find my research! I hope it stays that way!
Now that the computer is all spit spot, I took a peak at my google analytics for the first time in weeks. After taking a look at which pages are read and how much time people spend on them, I've learned that about 97% of my readers are reading my historical sewing pages. About 1% read  my quilting posts. Another 1% is reading my homeschool posts. The last 1% are miscellaneous.
Once upon a time, those numbers were reversed, in that 97% of my readers were homeschoolers. In that time my kids became college bound highschoolers with less arts and crafts projects and more calculus, physics, and Latin, so the posts weren't quite as cute as they used to be.
Also in that time my sewing journey moved from historical costume for our history presentations to learning how to sew historically accurate clothing. Costuming definitely has its place and was a great way to get my kids hooked on history on a low budget and short sewing time (3 historical outfits every 9 weeks). Then we moved to Virginia, visited Colonial Williamsburg on a monthly basis, and within our first few months of living here my kids asked for more historically accurate clothing for them and me so we could pretend to be a colonial family while visiting the historic area. I started taking classes with the tailors and milliners and a whole new world opened to me.
Now my kids have graduated from high school...and my readership has flipped. Therefore I'm in the middle of changing all my categories from homeschool labels to labels that reflect my historical  sewing journey. I will keep all my old posts, most of which are catalogued in the tabbed pages at the top of this page. ("Historical Eras" has been moved to the bottom of my "Classical Education" page.) Meanwhile I will continue to blog about miscellaneous subjects, such as travels, house remodeling, old homeschool lessons, books I've read, etc.  In between blog posts I'll continue sewing and those "work in progress" photos can always be seen on my facebook page, Teacups Among the Fabric (accessed by clicking the button in my right side bar). I still have a garden of subjects to share, but as I finish my sewing projects I'll be certain to share them here with lots of photos!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Shakespearan Clothing, a Video, and Books

I stumbled upon this great video of Jenny Tiramani showing how a Shakespearan actress is dressed to perform at the Globe Theater. Although many theaters and production companies take shortcuts in costumes due to expense and the need to expedite costume changes, this video showcases the historical accuracy of the clothing the actress wears as she puts everything on, layer by exquisite layer.

Tiramani's expertise in Elizabethan and Jacobean clothing has led to her work not only Shakespearan theater but also her work on numerous books, including Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 4: The cut and construction of linen shirts, smocks, neckwear, headwear and accesssories for men and women, c.1540-1660. These may sound like humble garments and for the most part many of them are. However there are wonderful period renderings as well as numerous photographs of actual pieces with incredible blackwork and lace. As always, patterns are available for drafting, the detail of which is stunning.


Another book that Tiramani has edited is Seventeenth Century Women's Dress Patterns, that has been reviewed  by the Colonial Williamsburg tailor.


Currently working for The School of Historical Dress, Tiramani is working on Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 5: The cut and construction of women's bodies, stays, hoops and rumps, c. 1600-1795

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Digging for a Biblical Timeline of Ancient Egypt

One of our many great studies in our homeschool years has been of Ancient Egypt. After lots of reading, studying and activities, we put together history presentations on the era...twice!

Visit our Egyptian Museum (Dialectic Level)

Take a tour with us (Rhetoric Level)


We've enjoyed lots of resources for our studies. Here are a few...




One of the things that frustrated us the years we studied Ancient Egypt was how our Christian homeschool curriculum used Old Earth (aka Evolutionary) dates. Therefore I did a lot of research into a Young Earth (aka Creationist) theories. One of the sources I discovered was a book hot off the press! Unwrapping the Pharoahs was written by Christian archaeologist David Down and John Ashton, who proposed Young Earth dates for the Israelites' time in Egypt, based on some of their research. The book is full of gorgeous photos with plenty of information to think about! My review of the book is written here.

Yesterday I saw that Dr. Jay Wile, whose Apologia Science books we had used in junior high and high school studies, shared a blog post on his facebook page about this very topic. In it he reviews a recent documentary, Patterns of Evidence: Exodus directed by Tim Mahoney which investigates why there haven't been archaeological discoveries of the Israelites' time in Egypt. The director thus proposed that perhaps there is a different timeline...(here's the link to Dr. Wile's blog post on this documentary.) I'm looking forward to seeing this documentary!

Again, I highly recommend the book, Unwrapping the Pharoahs!  Of course it's all theory, but it's far more plausible theory than what has been previously held. Dating our historical studies as accurately as we possible within a Young Earth context was paramount to me and my then 10 and 12 year olds. I have written previously on Young Earth Theory at the following links:

Other blog posts I have written about our activities:

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Finding My Row by Row Quilt in a Shop Window, Pumpkins, and Moo Thru

Row by Row free pattern collecting had come to an end, which meant that I could return to Rachel's Quilt Patch in Staunton, Virginia to collect my quilt! It was a beautiful day to enjoy a lovely day in the Blue Ridge. When I arrived, I found it on display in the window! How neat is that?

On the way home we stopped at a farmer's stand to enjoy autumn overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.




We also stopped at the Moo-Thru to try their ice cream. I am quite picky about ice cream, but this was delicious! This is a coconut mounds type flavor!


They are on winter hours now, but these were their summer hours...