Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Breezy Red and White Striped Dress for a Summery Day

From 8-19-2018-

My stashbusting took me to a few yards of remnants from sewing this 18th century gown for my daughter a few years ago. I had been saving it for a very late 18th century jacket. However Independence Day was coming, I was going to a picnic, and I was envisioning a light and airy dress to wear for the occasion.

Believe it or not, this pattern from 1981 beckoned to me.  I bought it in Vermont at an antique store years ago. I had 2 problems. One, it is too small. Could I size it up well? (I really don't know what I'm doing.) Two, the 1980's really aren't the "in" style. Could I get away with it? I just wanted a light and breezy easy dress. I decided to go for it.


I ended up not wearing it to the picnic, since it wasn't quite finished. I wore a red blouse with white shorts instead, which was perfect. I finished the dress later in July and wore it a few times before I finally got photos of it in August. Many thanks to my son for doing that for me.

We had a busy day. Our first stop was one of our favorite places, the train depot in Purcellville...


My son set me up for all the different poses...


Less breeze, above. More breeze, below.


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Later that afternoon we went to the Moo-Thru near Bealeton...because we were going to go hot air balloon chasing. Pictures from that in the next post.


Crepe myrtles at the Moo Thru.



Unbeknownst to me while waiting for ice cream.


Moundz ice cream is the best!



No, I don't think I enlarged the bodice enough. I've lost quite a bit of weight since then, so perhaps it fits better now.

I ended up doing two different bodices. Without thinking, I cut out the first bodice as directed in the directions, with the stripe running vertically. I sewed it to the skirt, which had the stripes running vertically...which looked boring. I meant to take a photo of this for comparison on the blog, but forgot.

I had just enough fabric to cut out another bodice, with the stripes running as a chevron in the bodice. I attached that to the skirt (which had the stripes running vertically). Then I added ruffles which then had more stripe interplay. I loved the effect.

I'm still on the lookout for a belt that I like to wear with the dress.

Despite the dress not being the best fit, it is wonderfully comfortable. I used 100% cotton that has a lovely drape and soft, comfortable touch. I loved all the ruffles I added and the way the skirt bounces against my legs when I walk. It's a lot of fun to wear. Not at all dressy, it's good for a simple day out and about.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Visiting the Source of the George Washington Cherry Tree Myth

From August 12, 2018-

On this day after church, my kids and I took a quick and easy trip to Dumfries, which was chartered back in 1749. Once a bustling colonial port on Quantico Creek which feeds into the Potomac, the mercantile trade which required fields of tobacco growing on all available land has faded away. Today a more modern hustle and bustle prevails.

Apparently in the day there was a playhouse and horse racing among the 18th century expectations of taverns, trade shops and dwellings. George Washington and George Mason were both known to transact business here.

Specifically we visited the Weems-Botts House which has a mix of history. Built in 1747, it was only two rooms.

12-Weems Botts House

In 1798 Parson Mason Locke Weems purchased the building to open a bookstore.

2-Weems Botts House

Parson Weems was a traveling book salesman, and writer of biographies. After Washington died in 1799, Weems wrote about his prestigious neighbor in what became his most famous work: A History of the Life and Death, Virtues and Exploits of General George Washington

Not everything Weems wrote was truth. Much were fabricated tales, to teach a lesson which seems contradictory. Washington was a valiant man in and of himself. He didn't need tales created to mortalize him, yet Weems thought otherwise. After his book was published, he had his critics to answer to, yet he understood marketing a book. The book became quite popular.

To me this seems more reflective of the upcoming Romantic Era of literature, as opposed to the fact loving era of Enlightenment that was closing out.

Thus, the story about the Cherry Tree, is not true. Also, the story that Washington could throw a silver dollar across the Potomac is not true either.

Anyone ever been to Mount Vernon? Could you imagine throwing anything across the river and it landing in Maryland?

Has anyone been to Ferry Farm, Washington's boyhood home in Fredericksburg?  I recall the tour guides there mentioning a variation of that tall-tale and insisting it is not true that the boy George Washington threw a rock or anything else across the Rappahannock River.

Dear Reader, I'm your friend. I'm warning you. =) The docents around here laugh at you if you believe any of that stuff. My kids and I don't but the docents still give us a hard time because they assume we believe all the tall tales. I'm not laughing at anyone, because it's hard knowing the facts when the myths are what gets populated.

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Moving on...up the stairs.

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The room was decorated in an American Revolution manner that the kids and I really appreciated.

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Dumfries is located in the far eastern end of Prince William County.

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Uh, oh. Well, General Charles Lee turned out to be one of the worst of Washington's generals. Check-in to the Battle of Monmouth, where General Lee checked-out and was eventually court-martialed.

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In the other room of the main floor there was a display of tobacco notes, used in the mercantile days. We've used those very pieces for our own reenactments of mercantilism.

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Also a copy of the Virginia Gazette, printed in Williamsburg. This copy had been printed in 1769.

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An interesting analysis of Weem's book can be found here.

In 1802 Weems sold the house to Benjamin Botts who used the house for his law office. His most famous case was to defend Aaron Burr who had been accused of treason.

Additions to the house were built in the 1870's.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Visiting Drive Thru History and Museum of the Bible in Washington DC

From June 10, 2018-

One day after church my son suggested we visit the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. What a great idea! It had just opened last November and I've been looking forward to a chance to visit. However we were quite unprepared. No umbrellas. No walking shoes. No camera. I used my cell phone so picture quality is low.

My one request was to start with the Drive Thru History of the Bible Theater and The History of the Bible Artifacts exhibit. No arguments from the kids. We excitedly went to the fourth floor, which ended up capturing our attention for the remainder of the day.

Many thanks to my son who took a picture of me in front of the Drive Thru History jeep! Wow, didn't I coordinate well? (No, I did not sew this outfit.)

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We first stumbled upon Drive Thru History while visiting Focus on the Family in Colorado. There was a video playing in the bookstore. I have to admit it took a while for me to warm up to Dave Stott's quirky sense of humor, but now he has me in stitches more often than not. He very cleverly makes history tangible, using humor, using clever post-production techniques that hearken to original manuscripts and images...and using vehicles. Every journey has its own vehicle to take us on tour as we travel through history.

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Drive Thru History has many wonderful videos (commonly used by homeschoolers) taking us on explorations of history from the days of the Ancients all the way to the American Revolution.

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Here's a special video just for the History of the Bible exhibit.

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And...there is the vehicle for this journey, a jeep.

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Perfect, since we have rugged terrain that needs to be traversed.

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And off Dave Stotts takes us to the next stop.

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Presenting...the jeep! In fact, here is a video of Stotts driving it through Washington DC to the museum.

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Oh...and the mechanic visit. This poor jeep has some history!

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The jeep arrives and Dave gave us a tour of the museum being built! Finally the big reveal!

As shown in the facebook videos linked above, we got to sit in the movie room to see a 15 minute feature where Drive Thru History takes us to Israel, England, and Germany to give us an overview of what we will see in the History of the Bible exhibit.

The History of the Bible exhibit is phenomenal! There are so many amazing things to see, but here are a few of my favorites (that survived my cell phone camera.)

13-250BC to AD70 Dead Sea Scrolls setting
The Dead Sea

14-250BC to AD70 Dead Sea Scrolls in jar
Dead Sea Scrolls

17-250BC to AD70 Dead Sea Scrolls-Isaiah more
Dead Sea Scrolls-Isaiah

24-1450-1460 Illuminated Psalter from England
Illuminated Psalter

27-1540's Gutenberg moveable type
Movable Type for the Gutenberg Press

30-1516 Erasmus New Testament in Greek and Latin
Erasmus' New Testament in Greek and Latin

31-1519 Erasmus Greek New Testament
Erasmus' Greek New Testament

48-1799 Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone

49-2018 Translate the Bible
Modern Bible Translation

52-Torah Scrolls
Torah Scrolls

Last year I read Wide as the Waters by Benson Bobrick, which I highly recommend. It was the story of everything I saw in this exhibit. The book is really incredible because it thoroughly traces the history, the beauty of the language of the text and how different English translations reflected that, but also because it points to the future of self-governance.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Mother's Day at Tuckahoe Plantation

Now that all the backdrop and history has been presented, on to the Mother's Day photos at Tuckahoe Plantation!

On Mother's Day, Tuckahoe offers a Peony Picnic. We bring our own food for a picnic anywhere we want on the grounds. (We did!) We may pick and pay for peonies from the lovely formal gardens. (We loved taking scores of photos.)  We may pay for a house tour. (We did!) And there were yard games. (Photos below)

My son set up his mini-tripod for a family photo.

Behind the house overlooking the river valley...


Their view of the James River...


Yard games...which were great for my daughter's spatial reasoning, too!


First it was bean bag toss...




Then croquet!




It was our first warm day of the season, and being near Richmond, a bit humid. Thankfully Gelati Celesit Ice Cream had their food truck there with scrumptious flavors. Yum!

It was a great day with my kids, to visit a lovely spot I've always wanted to visit.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Tuckahoe Plantation Boyhood Home of Thomas Jefferson

From May 13, 2018

For Mother's Day my kids took me to a place I have longed to visit, Tuckahoe Plantation: Boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson. It's also where one of my favorite movies was taped, Hallmark Hall of Fames: The Love Letter. Here I wrote about this time travel into the Civil War, a love story between Scotty and Lizzie that crossed the miles of time.

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As we drove up the drive I could just imagine Scotty on his bike...then I imagined Thomas Jefferson playing with his friends.

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Built in the 1730's by the Randolph family, William Randolph and his bride, Maria Judith Page, resided here for many happy years with their 3 children. Unfortunately, the parents died, leaving the children orphaned. William's will asked that his cousin, Jane Randolph Jefferson, and her husband, Thomas, (and their children) come to live at the home to raise the Randolph children. This is how Thomas Jeffferson, aged 2, arrived at his boyhood home. They lived there for the next 7 years, until Thomas Mann Randolph came of age. Thus Thomas Jefferson lived here until the age of 9, and received his first days of education at the school house located on the property, in attendance with his siblings and cousins.

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Many thanks to my son for the picture. I squeezed over to one side to showcase the roses trailing up behind me...which reminded me of the photograph Lizzie had taken of her in the movie.

25-Tuckahoe Plantation with me on a bench

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I'm guessing that some of the scenes shot with Lizzie writing her poetry in the garden were shot in this more informal garden, rather than at the more formal ones on the other side of the property (shown above).

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Finally the moment came to tour inside the house!!! No photography allowed, but you can see it all (and more) if you get the movie The Love Letter by Hallmark.

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The current owners live on the property, so we weren't allowed upstairs. (Couldn't see Lizzie's room, which happened to be shot in Thomas Jefferson's bedroom.) But the parlor definitely looked familiar from the movie, with all the wood paneling.

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It was an absolutely lovely day. Many thanks to my kids for taking me here.  (More details tomorrow about the Mother's Day event here.)