Friday, May 31, 2013

Another Hat Update - Shirring

This is hat #2 that I am experimenting with.  When I glued the fabric down on the brim top, I had put too much glue on and the fabric puckered and changed color in several spots.  I contemplated just covering that fabric with another layer.  I think the puckering would have shown through though.  I ended up deciding to try a bit of "shirring" instead. 

Shirring is created by gathering in rows by stitching on the back side of the fabric.

It certainly does cover up the top of the brim.

Now it is begging to be decorated to take your eye off the shirring!

Thursday, May 30, 2013


I had one lazy day.  I did do some CalBug transcribing and came across this one:

Google Maps shows it was collected near the ranch.

This is the info:
The insect is an Hesperia comma tildeni.
It was collected on September 14, 1971 by J. Powell.
It was collected 1.5 miles South of Del Puerto Canyon Road, in San Antonio Valley, Santa Clara County, California.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A New Endevor

In 2006, I volunteered for Stardust@home.  I used my time in the evenings while spending time with my hubby and watching TV to look for  tiny interstellar dust impacts in micro-thin slices of areogel.  I did that for a couple of years along with hundreds of other volunteers around the world.  It is quite an project and science has learned a lot from it.  It is now about to start its 5th stage.   

I have now signed up for another volunteer job online.  This one is called CalBug.  It seems that there are all kinds of botanical and insect collections that have been created through the years.  Now scientists want to use these collections to study the affects of climate on plants and insects then use that information in studies regarding global warming.  This is a little blurb about it:

"Calbug is an effort to digitize terrestrial arthropod-specimen records with a focus on California. The project represents a collaboration among eight entomological collections in California to capture data from specimen labels. The Calbug Science Team will then use the collection data to assess how arthropods have responded to climate change and habitat modification. Drawing from over a century of insect collecting in the region, our goal is to develop a database of over 1 million geographically referenced specimens."

 So basically what the project calls for is to take the information off those tiny notes on when and where and who collected the specimens and enter them in a searchable database.  It would be impossible to do a search through all those little tags!

I've only entered about 30 records so far and I've been working with moths and flies, for example, one was a fly from Yosemite collected in 1931!  I figure all those insects collected will now have some use for being on pins and needles all those years.

If you are interested in this go to:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hat Update

I worked some on the hats yesterday.  Here is the update:

Hat #1
The crown is just pinned on here.

See, its just pinned. 

This is the hat that is being used on the hat class.  I just wasn't inspired by the style but it is turning out, so far, pretty good.  I used a striped cotton muslin, it laid really nice and I like the stripes.

Hat #2:
I am not thrilled with how the brim top turned out.

The underside of the brim looks ok.
 The glue puckered up the fabric on the brim topside.  I planned it as a mock up so it doesn't really matter if it doesn't turn out.  I think if I was to do it again I would not make the brim curve up at such a quick angle.  And I would probably make the crown shallower. 

Well, I plan to go the next steps and then decorate them and see it I can pull it off.  The next step on hat #1 is to attach the crown to the brim.  I am going to follow the class script so will be working on it until Thursday when Lesson 4 is posted.   On Hat #2, I need to put a hat band on the outside bottom of the crown to cover the stitching, then start working on the inside of the crown.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Thoughts on Graduation

Yesterday we enjoyed Julian's graduation.  Moreau Catholic High School always has their graduations at the Paramount Theater in Oakland.  The Paramount is Art Deco theater built in 1931.  Every inch is beautifully decorated, lots of gold and silver, and is quite impressive.  It lends itself perfectly to pomp and circumstance affairs.  We have attended our children's graduation there through the years and are now adding the grandchildren's!  We have also attended our Son-in-law's citizenship ceremony there also!  Anyhow the Paramount is a very beautiful special place.

The class of 2013 was a small class, 251 graduates.  The class was very close and respects each other.  It was a real joy to watch these young people go to the next step in their lives.  We have attended lots of graduations in lots of forums, but I must say, the Moreau Graduations are the best.  And this year's was the best of the best!

One fashion note though:  Lots of the gals were wearing the latest fashion of shoes, of course.  You know the ones, stiletto heels as high as the sky.  Because they are walking on their tiptoes they cannot bend their knees and they have to lock their knees or they will fall forward.  They don't look very feminine walking that way.  And then there were the high platform shoes that make them have to pick up their feet totally before they can put them down...since the shoes can not bend in the middle.  They look really clunky.  The smart young ladies wore a nice 2 inch heels and could walk with a natural gait.  ....Sorry about that rant, but we were lucky no one fell off their shoes!

Grandkids, Francisca and Julian

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Another Graduation!

 I can't help it, I am so proud of this kid!

Congratulations, Julian!

Soon he will be off to St. Edwards University, Austin, TX.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A little peek inside

Yesterday I was at Ardenwood helping with school tours inside the Patterson House.   We have several docents throughout the house and we go non-stop, taking classes through our rooms, giving them a bit of information and passing them on to the next docent.  These were the last school tours till fall since school is just about out.

I was posted at the bedrooms upstairs and I had just a few minutes to take some pictures before the first class came up.  I though you might be interested in seeing them.

The guest bedroom:
The trunk in the foreground has button-up shoes, corset, bustle, etc for demonstrations.
Add caption

The Master Bedroom:

The Staircase:
The staircase from above.
That's it for a peek.  Sorry about the grainy quality. 

After I got home, a package arrived on the porch!  Christmas!

I had pre-ordered a pair of shoes from American Duchess and they just got them in.  They are Titanic period.
Hat #2 update (Gibson Girl pattern)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Hat Update

The new lesson, #3 came in yesterday.  It included covering the hat parts with flannel layer and getting ready to cover with the fashion fabric.  I am in the process of finishing that lesson with the class hat.  The other hat, the Gibson Girl hat, is a little ahead of the other one.  I am working on covering the brim with the fashion fabric.

Gibson Girl Hat (in progress)

 Today I was over at Ardenwood helping with the last of the school tours!  Tomorrow I will post a few photos I took in the house before tours started.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ardenwood: Free on Memorial Day!

I thought I would give you a heads up for Monday, Memorial Day!  It's a FREE day at Ardenwood!  This is rare, so enjoy!

The park is free and the Patterson House will be open to flow-through tours.  Flow-through tours allow the public to visit the house at their own pace with docents in most rooms.  Come say hello!
Bring a picnic lunch and a blanket to spread out on the lawn.  There are picnic tables in the farm yard also (no bar-b-ques though because of fire danger).

Bring cameras because there are tons of opportunities for photo-ops!  You will be entering the park at our train station.  I'm not sure how many trains will be running or just which ones but they are all great rides.  Our horses pull the railroad cars to re-enact the train service available a hundred years ago between Fremont and Newark.  On special occasions we have guest trains come and join us.  The trains will take you to the north side of the park, Deer Park.  And you can come back on the train or walk around from there.

The monarch butterflies have migrated on by now, but in the winter they will come back to the eucalyptus trees near Deer Park.   It is quite a site to see when they are all gathered there.

If you head back toward the house you will go by greenhouse and cutting gardens.  These gardens supply many of the floral arrangement in the house.  Going further you will see the pool area.  The deck now covers the first pool in the area.  It was fed by an underground spring.

The house is close now and you can see the Victorian details in the architecture of the Queen Anne Victorian.  The front door is on the side of the turret.  Enjoy the house and there will be a lot more excitement left to see....

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thinking of Oklahoma

Like everyone, I was so sorry to hear of the destruction in Oklahoma.  I was glad Joplin, Mo. didn't get hit again.  We have a relative that worked at the hospital at Joplin last year when the tornado hit there.  He was one of the brave people that was helping rescue people.  He saw so much trauma and it left him with nightmares and memories he can not erase.  He was lucky because his family and home were unscathed but he took on others pain.

So I know we all want to help out in what every way we can.  Usually we are a distance away so we give money to help the situation.  And of course, after these disasters there are all the flim flam people that set up bogus charity collection sites.  So, I thought I would add a link to a great way to check charities for these situations and just charities in general.  Charity Navigator checks out charities through out the country and rates them.  One of our sons is the executive director of a charity and and that is how I found out about this site.  I have used the site to check on an outfit that collects furniture and clothing and found very little of their proceeds goes to any charity work.  So for what it's worth, the link is in the upper right hand side of this blog.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Let me tell you a story....

One day, George"The Honey Man" received a phone call from Vector Control.  They said there was a family that had a bird house that a swarm of bees decided to inhabit.  The family said they didn't mind giving up their bird house, but the bees had to go!

The bees though it was a pretty cool hive, all sorts of little doors with little take-off and landing strips just outside each door.  Very handy.  But it was pretty crowded in there.

George went over to see what he could do about the situation.  It turned out there was no way he could get the bees out of the bird house alive so he took the bees, bird house and all home.  The bird house was really cute but way to small for all the bees, and no way to harvest the honey either.

George decided to make an addition on to the little house and make it so the bees would have lots of room and lots of frames to store their honey.  You can see his efforts above. 

The bees couldn't quite accept the addition and wouldn't even bother to go into it.  The end of the story is that the bees moved on to bigger and better honey places.  Oh, well.

Monday, May 20, 2013


We are so spoiled here in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.  We have relatives in other parts of the country and let me tell you...We are spoiled with our weather!  Our Iowa/South Dakota relatives had a couple of weeks ago 106 degree weather followed the next week by a blizzard, then yesterday there were tornado warnings!  And relatives in Joplin, Missouri are sweating out tornado warnings.  They were hit hard last year.  When we were on our cross country trip last year we experienced some of the east coast heavy rain storms....nothing like the rather whimpy rain storms in California!  And then there was the dust storm in New Mexico.  Hurricanes and tornados are scary things and I am glad I don't have to fear them.  Earthquakes happen here but are few and far between and rarely damaging.

Well, We are thinking of all of you in these dangerous weather locations.  Stay safe!

Meanwhile, it will be in the 70s here today.  I was out weeding and spraying the brick walkways this morning.  I went out and bought some sprinkler head repairs and some short hoses to hook up the soaker hoses.

Hat Update:Yesterday I worked a bit on the hats.  Yes, hats - plural!  I have two hats going at the same time.  The first one is the one the "" online class is using for the class.  It is an 1880 hat frame but can be suitable for up to 1890s.

The second one is a 1895 hat.  This hat can be suitable for the early 1900s.  I am doing View B, the one on the bottom left.  I will be tweaking it though with height but I did want to try that curved brim on View B.

 This is where I am at at this point.  I put stickers on the buckram pieces to keep track of which hat I am working on.
I am really looking forward to learning treatments with feathers.  I have a bunch of short feathers but there is supposed to be a way to put them together to make them full and longer.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Music Box Pictures!

It was an absolutely gorgeous day at Ardenwood!  Then add music coming from all directions of the gardens and in the house!  Just beautiful!

There was a caliope in the gazebo in the garden and...
                                                           a couple behind the house.

And lots of music boxes inside the house...

 The little bird in the cage was my favorite.  It really sang like a canary, turning its head and flipping its tail while singing.

Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and the music.
The weather is beautiful today and I'm all excited to hear all the music boxes playing!  I will try to remember to bring my camera and take some photos to post tonight.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hat Class has started!

Hat Class has started and I am so glad I was a week off in my start date because this week has been totally filled!  This is the first on-line class I've taken so that part of it should be interesting.  Class started yesterday and we have a period of time that the class will be available after the class start date.  That is going to help me out since we are in wedding/graduation time.  And I have tons of other stuff to catch up on since I was gone a week.

I managed to cut out my buckram tonight so tomorrow I will be cutting the fabric, lining and flannel (for padding).  It doesn't take long considering there are 3 or 4 pieces for a hat compared to the many for a dress or blouse.

Today I stopped by to visit Aunt Edna and this time she was awake and perky!  The last 3 times I manage to time it when she is sleeping.  She is looking well and her sore foot is completely healed.  The house now has 6 residents, a full house.  They all seem to happy gals, though a couple of them sleep most of the time.  But it has brought a vibrancy to the house.  They were playing a new karaoke game and playing music and they had one gal up and dancing!  Aunt Edna was loving watching the dancing!  She used to dance so much.  She danced at the USOs in World War II!

I am gong to weed a bit in the garden, then start serious work on the hat!  Musicbox weekend is at Ardenwood and I will be there on Saturday!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Music Box displays at Ardenwood This Weekend

This weekend will have music through the Patterson House as well as the grounds.  Usually there is a calliope in the gazebo playing gay 90s music the whole day.  Last year there were small calliopes behind the house.

In the Patterson house will be examples of smaller music boxes.  Guest can just check out the music boxes or join a tour of the house.

I will be there  in the afternoon of Sat. May 18.  Come join me in the music of the music boxes! - and introduce yourself!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Honey Bees!

My little girls are very busy since the hive swarmed and 1/3 of their sisters took off.  My girls are so sweet, in more than just the honey.  They are very patient and we can work around the hive without a problem.  I have heard they get used to your scent if you are around the hive often.

There have been some questions about the honey and I would refer you to George's site:

 George does beekeeping as a hobby and a little business on the side for those that love our local honey.  He also will gather up swarms for homeowners if it is possible.  Sometimes they are in inaccessible places.  People get very scared seeing a swarm but actually they are very docile because they are working to protect the new queen and find her a new home.

There has been something attacking the honeybee populations which has greatly affected farmers crops.  They don't know the complete reasons but there is speculation about a virus or bacteria attacking hives.  Total hives die off.  Very sad to see.  Bees are so important to our environment for pollination for all fruits and veggies, as well as, all our garden flowers and trees. So we are glad to help promote healthy bees and honey.

A lot of people buy honey to help with allergies.  Usually you would want local honey for that.

Honey is really interesting.  It is a natural product and doesn't need refrigeration.  It can be pasteurized but many people think the medicinal properties are destroyed by pasteurization.  George's honey is not pasteurized.  The cells made of wax where the bees store the honey are unsealed and the honey is drawn out by centrifugal force.  It is then strained and bottled.  A very interesting process.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Garden Journal- May

It seems to be purple time again...

 The statue behind the foxgloves is of a Chinese "Mother Nature" goddess.

The garden is starting to need water!  We've had a few very hot days.

And then there are the purples-to-come, in the picture below.  Artichokes!  We don't really relish them like some people.  Dear Hubby grows them for their blossoms!  And they are pretty.  When we were on our Slice of America Trip II last summer he left a few "on the vine" and they dried naturally, keeping their beautiful purple flowers.

Off for a tour of schools for Ben this morning.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day After-glow

We had such a great time yesterday.  Jen arranged a painting day at Canvas and Cabernet in Walnut Creek!  We just had to bring ourselves and enjoy painting.  They even had a little bar set up so we had mimosa's and some had beer and wine and we just painted away.  We had a teacher to guide us through the steps and it was just plain fun.

I hope your Mother's day was as enjoyable as mine!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers Day!

We are going to celebrate Mothers Day at a really neat place today.  It is called Canvas and Cabernet.  There will be an artist to teach us all to paint a particular painting.  Paint and wine, that should be interesting!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Graduation Day #1

Today will be travel and graduation day. We have two grandchildren graduating this month. A granddaughter will be graduating today from Sonoma State University and a grandson will be graduating from Moreau High in 2 weeks. He went to his Senior Ball last night and I can't wait to see pictures!

 Last night my dear sister called. Her and her husband are getting their beautiful home ready to sell. She needs a lot of sunlight in the winter and so they are moving to Arizona. It is quite a sacrifice to give up such a beautiful place to live, although I am sure they will find it wonderful in Arizona too. They have some many friends up there they will be able to go back and visit anytime.

 I am going to have to post a few pictures of their place in Port Townsend, Washington to show you what I am talking about.

 Port Townsend is right on the inside of Puget Sound, and is an old fishing/military town. It is full of Victorian houses and has an "Old Town" along the waterfront - A real tourist attraction. Rather small and intimate being on the west side of the Sound but Seattle is just a ferry ride away. There are lovely walking trails and tons of events to do up there, I will miss not having an excuse to go up there.

Flowers bloom just anywhere!
One of the "Big Ships" coming in for the Boat Festival
Overlooking the Lighthouse

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Hat - which one?

I am a docent at Ardenwood Regional Park in Fremont, CA.  The docents are all volunteers and give tours through the Patterson House in historical costume of the years 1890-1910ish. 

When the house was first opened to the public the internet wasn't around and information was not so easily found on fashions of past eras so we had just basic information.  Most of the docents don't sew and have had to have someone make their outfits.  I do sew but originally the patterns were few and far between.  I have used these patterns over and over.  But recently I have been trying to update my costumes and started checking out the internet.  And, WOW!, there are a lot of re-enactors out there!  And talented, educated young people sewing and creating patterns and supporting each other!  It is just amazing some of the reproductions that are being created!!

Anyhow, I found many goldmines of information, especially, a blog by  She put out challenges for all comers to sew historical reproductions and post them on her blog every two weeks.  I have been following her since December 2012 just when she was starting the challenges for this year.  I have been posting about all the challenges that I was able to participate in.  By the time Ardenwood opened their 2013 season in April I had a whole new wardrobe!

Now about hats.  Years ago, about 20 years actually, Ardenwood had a class on hat making for the docents.  I attended and have made all my hats since then but I have felt the need for more information.  I found where Jennifer Rosbrugh gives good information on all kind of historical sewing and offers classes every so often.

She just happened to be offering an online class on "1880s Bustle Hats" that starts on May 16th.  So, even though I do not portray that period, I figure I will probably learn something new on hat making and I will be making a hat of "my" period in the process also.    

But I do have to figure out which hat style to make.  I am mulling it over....its really nice that I have a longer time to decide....but I may have to go out and get trims or something so it would be nice to pin it down soon.

At the turn of the century there were lots of styles going on in a short period of time. And I am kind of intrigued by these:

Notice the brims on these hats are so different, one curved up and the other as straight as a board.  One of the styles of this period was for the hats to be tall and give height. Bird feathers were popular hat decor and then fabric "feathers".  One of my new hat patterns has a fabric feather.

And if you look at the top one the fabric comes down the front and curls into two flower-like swirls at the brim, cool!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Home and Busy Day!

Today I have a meeting, late afternoon my exercise class and in between my online class on 1880s Bustle Era Hats.  Although I will be doing something for late 1890s- Early 1900s.

I copied the patterns I just bought and I have all my supplies so I am ready to go once I decide on what kind of hat I am going to make. 

UPDATE:  Silly me, actually it's all Jen's fault!  I thought today was the 16th!  I'm a week ahead of myself!  Wow, I have a week to decide what I am going to do for the hat class!  So today I get to do housework instead!! Oh, joy.