Friday, December 18, 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas at Ardenwood

My camera focus wasn't working really well, but it is a touch of Christmas at Ardenwood!

The Dining Room

The Sun Room
The Guest Bedroom

The Office
The Guest Parlor

The Family Parlor
The Foyer

The Library

Up the Staircase

The Library
The Guest Parlor

The Master Bedroom

The Guest Bedroom

Donna and her Guide Dog (in Training) Tundra

The Master Bedroom

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Sisters Tea

My sister suggested getting together for tea every 2 months.  We certainly have not gotten together very much in the past few years and what a great idea for a lot of fun.

We have our date for our first tea, October 10 at her house.   That was a minor miracle just how easy it was to get a date.  If we couldn't have gotten the 10th, the next possible time would have been as far out as January 2016.

We are now in the process of deciding what will be on the menu. 

Christmas Tea, December 13, 2015 at Ardenwood

Be prepared to be entertained!

More news later!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Drought and Fires

We in California are so sick and tired of this stupid drought.  Everything is drying up or has already died.  My poor yards....

And then there is the danger of fire.

One of our sons moved up to the Middletown area in June  They were up there a couple weeks and there was a big fire that got as close as about a mile away.  Then, a second fire, the Jerusalem fire came a bit closer.  Then, the Valley fire, the third largest most damaging fire of California history came so close they didn't know if they still had a house for almost a week.  His car was in the shop and burned to a molten mass and his brother-in-law lost his beautiful house they had hand built.

Now that is over and though we are all hoping for a really nice wet winter, we are concerned for those in burned out areas for flooding, hills being washed down, etc.  Everyone is starting to really prepare for winter.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Murder Mystery this Saturday night!

The Murder Mystery takes place in the 1860s so I had to make sure my hoop dress was ready to go.  The last time I had worn this dress was last spring.  I had put a note on the outfit that the skirt and petticoat needed to be shortened.  In addition, I knew the bodice needed a little embellishment.

The front

I had already added 2 rows of dark blue grossgrain ribbon on the bottom of the skirt.  Anyhow, it now looks like:

I also shortened the petticoat and all is ready to go now.

Rail Faire!

Labor Day Weekend is alway Rail Faire Weekend for Ardenwood.  The Railroad group shows off all their train engines, some of which they bring to Ardenwood just for the weekend.  They give rides to our visitors and everyone has a great time!

Also, this year we had hosted the replica casket of Abraham Lincoln.  The casket was used in all the re-enactment of the train ride from Washington, DC to Springfield, Il on the 150th anniversary.  Since those ceremonies, the casket has been on tour throughout the US.

We were so busy with tours, it was a long weekend.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Earthquake! Prepare now! Week 4 - Sept 7, 2015

Earthquake! Prepare now!  Week 4 - Sept 7, 2015

Another week, more prepared!

If you do feel an earthquake you can help the scientists learn more of how the earthquake waves travel by going on to the USGS web site and telling them how you felt it in your area.   then click "Did You Feel It?"   Click on the incident you felt and they have a survey asking you questions about it.  I have even gone in when I didn't feel it because that is important too. You can then see how many other people took the survey, how far away from the epicenter you were, etc.

Check your house for hazards. †

Identify which hazards you will reduce first. †
(Don't forget to attach monitors and TVs to the wall.  A TV toppled off a cabinet and killed a little boy!  OSH has Earthquake wax that you can put under knick-knacks to hold them from flying off a shelf.)

If you haven't already locate your gas meter and water valves and place the proper tool near each. † Obtain a collar-tag or microchip for your pet for emergency identification.

If you happen to have an extra nice large backpack you can start filling it up with the things on the shopping list.  You do want to have tools for your kit and not ones you use for working around the house because you want to know right where they are at when you need them.

Crescent wrench** †
Heavy duty rope** †
Duct tape †
2 flashlights - hand crank or battery operated †
Batteries for flashlights †
Bungee cords** †
Water proof matches †

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Rail Faire and Abraham Lincoln's casket (replica)!

Labor Day weekend is always soooo busy at Ardenwood.  I signed up for tours yesterday and today.  Tomorrow I am taking a break!

I must say, this year the kids and parents have been much better behaved than last year.  Maybe kids are getting field trips again through the school.  Last year, the parents, as well as, the kids seemed to have no sense of manners or how to act in someone else's house.  I even had one child run up and start jumping on the bed!  The mother just stood there until she saw the look on my face .... then she apologized to HIM for having to taking him off the bed!  Needless to say, I had my eye on them for the rest of the tour and knew they had better behave.

So glad to have well-behaved people!

Simone and Spencer joined our tour today.  And Simone took a picture of me in my newly "embellished" mourning dress.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Earthquake! Prepare now! Week 3 Aug. 31, 2015

Earthquake!  Prepare now!  Aug. 31, 2015

Ok!  If you have collected all the supplies we have mentioned so far, look how much more you are ahead in safety for your family already!!!  Maybe you already had all your stuff and have checked it over just to make sure everything is up to date and where it is supposed to be!

Out-of-state contact:
        After Loma Prieta earthquake phone lines were down in local areas.  Many people had to call an out-of-state contacts to have them call back to friends or relatives in CA.  The local calls couldn't get through where long distance could.   So. . . Establish an out-of-state contact to call in case of emergency. †

Prepare a list of important phone numbers: out-ofstate contact, physicians, veterinarian, family, creditors, insurance, etc. †and add to First Aid Kit in car and in house.

If you haven't done it yet, make an emergency family plan.

† 1 gallon of water per person!  if you haven't already!  Also, once we get all the water for drinking for
          3-5 days, we are going to need to have water for sanitation purposes also...did you forget about

†1 jar peanut butter per person  - protein and filling and kids usually like it!† Don't worry there will be
          more food than peanut butter!
 Hand-operated can opener
 †Instant coffee
 Powdered soft drinks (because, if you didn't buy your water, the water available may not taste the
 † Permanent marking pen to mark date on cans & water container
 Diapers, baby food, baby supplies
 Pet food, and pet meds, if needed

Better pics of the Victorian Mourning Dress

Still a bit hard to see with all that black, but overall these are better pictures.


Ruching, pleats and ruffles!

Side View


Friday, August 28, 2015

President Abraham Lincoln's casket (replica) for viewing at Ardenwood

To commemorate the 150thanniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln (April 30, 2015), the Batesville Casket Company created a replica of Abraham Lincoln’s coffin for the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train Commemoration.  After official 150th anniversary ceremonies in Illinois, the replica has travelled throughout the United States.  The Chapel of the Roses in Fremont asked the Patterson House at Ardenwood to host the casket while it is in the San Francisco Bay area from September 4 through September 13.  Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd, Fremont, CA just off Hywy 84. 11:30am-3:30pm  The park opens at 10 am.

Following President Lincoln's assasination on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, a casket was custom built to hold the president's remains.  The first public viewing of Lincoln was held in the  East Room of the White House on April 18, 1865. Following the funeral the coffin was transported to the Capital for another public viewing. It was decided that President Lincoln should be returned to his home in Springfield, Illinois for burial and not in Washington, D.C. as Congress had hoped.

President Lincoln’s funeral train began the long journey to Springfield on April 21, 1865. The remains of his son, Willie, who died in 1862, was taken on the train with his fathers remains.  The funeral train would travel the route that Lincoln had made as president-elect. The only changes to the route were the omission of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and the addition of Chicago.

Large funeral precessions were held at each major stop along the funeral route, as the coffin was transported from the train to the place of public viewing. Cleveland, Ohio was the only city to hold its public viewing outdoors, as they did not have a building large enough to accommodate the large crowds of mourners. Finally, on May 3, 1865, the funeral train reached its final destination of Springfield, Illinois. On May 4, 1865, President Lincoln was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

President Lincoln’s elaborate coffin was constructed of solid walnut, lined with lead and completely covered in expensive black cloth. It was six feet, six inches long and was decorated with sterling silver handles and studs extending the entire length of its sides. The center of the lid showcased a shield outlined in sterling silver studs and a sterling silver plate bearing the inscription:

It is estimated that one million people viewed President Lincoln’s body from the time of his death until his burial in Springfield, Illinois. His coffin was the most elaborate of that time. President Lincoln also had the distinction of having the largest funeral throughout the world, until President John F. Kennedy’s death in 1963.

It could be said that Abraham Lincoln’s death triggered the beginning of modern day funeral service. President Lincoln was the first public figure to be embalmed and put on view for almost three weeks. The embalming technique used on President Lincoln was primarily used on soldiers who died during the Civil War and needed to be transported home for burial. Being able to view the body for extended periods of time without being iced was the precursor for modern day funeral service. People at that time thought embalming was a barbaric violation of the body, but Lincoln’s funeral had changed that perception. President Lincoln’s public viewing introduced the population to the benefits of embalming. Mourners were able to see the late president for twenty days and embalming made it possible. 

Ardenwood's Mystery Dinner!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Coming up!

Ardenwood, Fremont, California.

The Rail Fair will be held on Labor Day weekend.  The park will be especially full of 4 year old boys!  But there will be lots of girls too!  The children love all the model trains set up in the farmyard.

Abraham Lincoln's casket (replica) will be on display at the Patterson House  September 4-14.
     This replica was made in 2015 for the anniversary of Lincoln's death to celebrate his life and re-enact the funeral train trip that brought his body to be laid to rest in Springfield, Ill.   The train stopped at several cities so the people could express their goodbys.   Since the 2015 anniversary the replica has been traveling throughout the country as a memorial to Lincoln.  The Chapel of the Roses has offered it to be displayed at the Patterson House before it moves on to its next destination. And now that I have my Mourning Dress finished with all its embellishments I am ready for the proper viewing of the casket.

Ardenwood will hold the next Murder Mystery Dinner on September 12.  More information will be posted on the Patterson House facebook page soon.

There will be the Foundation Rummage Sale on September 19 in the front parking lot at Ardenwood.  7-Noon.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Spifying up the Victorian Mourning Dress

I have never been able to let go like the Victorians and go full bore on throwing all kinds of decoration on their late 1800's dresses.  But I decided to really give it a try.

This is what the Mourning Dress looked like originally.

I did end up adding pleats at the hem.

Now I decided to try some ruching. . . yards of ruching.

And lots of stitching and lots of thread...

And lots of gathers.

I added some ruching on the sleeves too.

Then I decided to make an overskirt too, with ruffles all along the edges.  And the end result . . . .

Well, that was fun!

Earthquake! Prepare now! Week 2 Aug 24

Week 2  Aug 24

Emergency Water Storage And Purification

Following are recommendations for storing and purifying water supplies:
  • Close Up of Water BottlesThe minimum drinking water supply is 1 gallon per person per day. You will also need water for food preparation, bathing, brushing teeth, and dish washing. Store a 3-5 day supply of water (at least 5 gallons for each person).
  • Water should be stored in sturdy plastic bottles with tight-fitting lids. Rinsed chlorine bleach bottles work well for water storage. Plastic containers for juice and milk do not work as well because they tend to crack and leak more readily. All containers should be labeled.
  • Stored water should be changed every 6 months.
  • Avoid placing water containers in areas where toxic substances, such as gasoline and pesticides, are present. Vapors may penetrate the plastic over time.
  • Do not store water containers in direct sunlight. Select a place with a fairly constant, cool temperature.
It is a good idea to put together a first aid kit for your car also. 
Since we are talking about the car....what if you are at work and overpasses are down?  How are you going to get home to your family?  If you do need to walk, it's a good idea to have tennis shoes and jacket, water, power bars in your trunk, even a whole "go-kit" if you can.  We can go into that more later.

Hopefully you have your first aid kit together since last week, or at least you are on your way.
Don't forget to add in your kit:
family medications
emergency phone numbers *
AND while we are at it, put in your calendar right NOW, 6 months ahead, to check your supplies and their expiration dates and change out what need to be updated. (Especially water and meds and batteries!) 

A metal trash can if you are storing any supplies in your shed, etc.  They have them at OSH.  Rodents can't get through metal vs. plastic.
       You can put a table round with a long tablecloth on top of a trash can and it looks like a table for storage in the house.  Put it in a place easy to get at from an outside door. 
Radio and batteries.  

Just a thought.....We keep our camping supplies near the garage door.  Just in case. . .

To me I sound like I am really paranoid, but really after you set this all up you feel that you have really gotten it all together.

Monday, August 17, 2015


After our little shaker this morning, I decided to put a few things together to post for our neighborhood web site.

I put ours together just a month before the Loma Prieta.  Luckily we didn't have to use it but felt really good we had it.  Actually, we gave most of it away in Watsonville to the people out of their homes and in the rain.  We helped give out hundreds of tents that had been donated by TARGET!  Families were so thankful for the tents, but I worried for them without lights, trying to put up tents without being able to read the instructions or without even being able to see the picture of what it was supposed to look like!

I will try to post  a bit once a week so shopping won't hit the wallet all at once.   The first shopping list will be at the end of the page.

First things first!

You could look into joining your neighborhood CERT group.
Gas shut off valve.  In a real shaker, you may smell gas.  Be sure to have something to turn off the gas and know how to do it.
Water shut off valve.  Do you know how to turn off the water in case a water pipe breaks?
Electric shut off.  Do you know how and where to turn off your electicity?
Water is a necessity and running water may not be available.
First Aid Kit, important in case of injuries.
Flashlights & batteries

CERT group
I believe the initials stand for Citizen Emergency Response Team.  You can find information on CERT at the fire station.  They train citizens in all sorts of first aid and response techniques in case of emergency, like a large earthquake.  Each community will need people trained.  CERT provides very interesting and important information and training.
Gas shut off valve
Find out where it is and be sure there is a designated shut off wrench in a place where it will (for sure) be in case of an emergency.
Be sure you know that the valve  is open when the line you turn is in line with the pipe, it is off when the line is across the pipe like a +.
Only turn off the gas if you smell gas though.  You should have PGE turn it back on (and it may take days after a big earthquake because they will be busy!)
Water shut off valve
There should be a valve where the water comes into the home and one at the street.  Your valvat the street may need a special tool.
Electric shut off switch
Do you know where your electric box is?   Usually it is on the side of your house.  PGE give you information if you need it.
Family evacuation and meeting place
An important topic for a family discussion:  if everyone is home, some at school, some at work.
If phones are disabled because of heavy usage, how will family members communicate or waiting place.

Shopping list:
WATER!!!  Water is much more important than food!
First Aid Kit - Either by as a kit or put a kit together.  I know it will be hard to find some of the things on the Red Cross list, but if you have at least the easier ones it is better than none.   I have mine in a nylon lunch bag that we weren't using.

The Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include the following:


This is the second earthquake we have had in the Bay Area lately so better ready than sorry!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Catch up. . .Again!

We have been up to lots of things these last several months.  We have been down to Pacific Grove and enjoyed the ocean again.  We actually stayed a couple days this time!

I have been doing all sorts of small projects, mending and changing what needs it.

And more weeding.  The back yard is looking a lot better, even though it is dry.  The scientists are thinking we will be having a very rainy winter!  I am starting to think of projects for rainy days.  One of them may include an Victorian evening dress and a 1918 day dress.  And who knows what else!

I decided since I delved into making the Regency Dresses, I really needed the stuff that goes under them.  So, I am taking an online class to make a Regency Chemise and Corset.  Surprise, surprise!  Under those cute little airy dress of the Jane Austen period, they wore corsets!  I never would have thought!  But, they needed something in the way of a "foundation" garment to get that "shelf-look" in the bodice area that looks like they are going to have a fashion malfunction!  We will see if I can harness some of that "lift".

The class started a couple weeks ago with a list of supplies we need.  This last week we worked on the chemise.  Very easy and I am finished.  Tomorrow we start on the corset.  The Regency corset is not boned, it is corded.  Literally instead of sliding metal bones in casings, we are pulling butcher's string through casings.

I have also been taking a course on "Literature and the English Country House".  It was very interesting and in the process I read the "Mysteries of Udolpho" a gothic novel by Ann Radcliffe.  It was written before Jane Austin and quite interesting.

That course just finished up last weekend.  It was a free online course provided by the University of Sheffield in England.


There will be one more round of Summer Camps.  More information is on the Patterson House facebook page.

Cajun Zydeco will be Sat., August 15
     This is a popular event, come early with your lawn chairs, blanket and sun umbrella.  Cajun food         will be sold but you can bring your own also.

The Rail Fair will be held on Labor Day weekend.  The park will be especially full of 4 year old boys!  But there will be lots of girls too!  The children love all the model trains set up in the farmyard.

Abraham Lincoln's casket (replica) will be on display at the Patterson House  September 4-14.
     This replica was made in 2015 for the anniversary of Lincoln's death to celebrate his life and re-enact the funeral train trip that brought his body to be laid to rest in Springfield, Ill.   The train stopped at several cities so the people could express their goodbys.   Since the 2015 anniversary the replica has been traveling throughout the country as a memorial to Lincoln.  The Chapel of the Roses has offered it to be displayed at the Patterson House before it moves on to its next destination.

Ardenwood will hold the next Murder Mystery Dinner on September 12.  More information will be posted on the Patterson House facebook page soon.

There will be the Foundation Rummage Sale on September 19 in the front parking lot at Ardenwood.  7-Noon.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

What's up!

I have been busy, just not on here!

Ben has been through another IVIG treatment, plus a evaluation at Stanford of how he is doing.  He is doing much better though still has a long way to go.  He has a couple more IVIGs to go then the treatment will change.

I have been taking an online course with Sheffield University on Literature in the English Country Houses.  Very interesting.

I have been doing TONS of weeding in the back yard.  It had been neglected for so long because with the drought it is rather depressing.  We have lost quite a few plants and it had slowed the weeds down too.  But we had just enough rain to get weeds start growing again.  So I have 21 garbage cans filled waiting for their turn to get picked up on Thursdays.  I can get rid of 4 cans a week but I have still been filling them as fast as they are emptied.

On the sewing scene I have been mending and I shortened my 1905 Wool skirt.  It was way too long, so I finally shortened it and wore it Thursday.

This week I will be starting a new online class:  Regency Corset and Chemise class.  The corset looks very interesting to make since it has boning with cotton string.  I haven't done and cording before so it should be fun.

There will be a Christmas Tea at Ardenwood this winter.  Sunday, December 13th in the afternoon.  Just a heads up!

And, take a breath! . . . The girls and I have been planning our trip to France in 2016!  We have been having lots of fun and have all the travel plans and hotels taken care of except one, we can't book it until October.   All the friends are getting sick of hearing about it!  I won't drive you away with talking about it, we have our own private blog to wallow about in the fun of it all!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wall Street Article on PANS (PANDAS)

From an article in the Wall Street Journal re: a study my grandson and his parents participated in.

 5 Things to Know About PANS 


 The idea that there might be a link between infections and certain psychiatric disorders has gained credence among scientists over the past few years. Resources have followed, including the creation in 2012 of a Stanford University clinic dedicated to studying and treating the condition, known most commonly as PANS, for pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome.  

 1. The name for the condition was coined in 2012. Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health led by Susan Swedo focused their work on youth who had a sudden and dramatic onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder following a Group A streptococcal infection. They called that condition Pandas, or pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infections. Over the years, researchers recognized that many patients had symptoms of Pandas but no documented evidence of a preceding strep infection. Researchers met and established criteria that would include both infectious and noninfectious triggers for the condition and published a paper in 2012 describing PANS. Pandas is now considered a subset of PANS.

 2.  A PANS diagnosis requires more than just a sudden, dramatic onset of OCD and/or severe eating restriction. Patients must also have two or more neuropsychiatric symptoms from seven categories, including anxiety, cognitive deterioration, and sensory or motor abnormalities.

 3.  Researchers believe there might be a genetic component. The latest studies indicate that youth who get PANS might have a genetic predisposition for the syndrome, which is then likely triggered by something such as an infection or environmental factors. In a published paper describing the first 47 cases in the PANS clinic at Stanford University, researchers found that patients with PANS frequently reported psychiatric disorders and autoimmune disease in family members.

 4.  To be diagnosed with PANS, other conditions need to be ruled out. Researchers at the First PANS Consensus Conference called PANS “a diagnosis of exclusion,” meaning that doctors first must rule out other known medical conditions that may have similar or overlapping symptoms.

 5.  Parents have played a crucial role in driving awareness and research. Even while the doctors debate the condition, parents have helped drive attention to the disorder. They run chat groups and Facebook pages. They have helped get PANS and Pandas Awareness Days passed in a number of states. Beth Alison Maloney, an attorney and advocate, wrote a resource guide about the disorder and a memoir about her experience helping her son overcome Pandas called “Saving Sammy: A Mother’s Fight to Cure Her Son’s OCD.” Earlier this year, parent advocates spoke at hearings that led the Illinois Legislature to pass a bill to create an advisory committee. The committee will raise awareness and disseminate information to doctors and the public about PANS and Pandas.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

4th of July, 2015

This year I was at Ardenwood for 4th of July.  It is my favorite event at Ardenwood, but it seems that quite a few years there are other activities I attend.  Last year it was the Alaska Cruise!

But this year was for Ardenwood!  And most special was that my friends. Simone and Spencer, brought a traditional 4th of July picnic lunch for me to enjoy with them.  We had a wonderful spot on the lawn in front of the gazebo and were serenaded by the Fife and Drum Corps while we ate


Friday, July 10, 2015

1900 walking suit

This is the latest project: 1900 walking suit

I used the Truly Victorian Trumpet Skirt and Truly Victorian 1896 Ripple Jacket

The fabric is linen/wool and requires dry cleaning.  I found this fabric in a costume post that it was on sale (reg $14, on sale at $7 a yard and just had to get it.  I knew it was going to be a challenge.  Lucky for me I ordered 7 yds, thinking of just making a skirt and adding for matching.  It turned out since it was 60" wide and the way the skirt was cut, there was enough to make the jacket also.

The challenge:  The border was more than 2 ft wide along one edge.  There is a scallop on the bottom edge.  The skirt pieces are curved and the border is straight.  Then the floral embroidery is spaced with about a foot between each one.  That meant they had to be spaced on the separate skirt pieces so they weren't chopped off where the seams go.

After much adjusting, it all turned out pretty well, pattern-wise.  Though on each side there is a seam where the scallops don't meet.

If you look where the seam is you can see part of the embroidery just floating up there.  I was able to fix this picking out the stitches of that embroidery.  This happened in several places

When it came to the jacket, there was just enough fabric left.  There was a piece of embroidery that was just large enough for each sleeve.

Now I have to make a blouse to go under the jacket to complete the outfit.
And, I'm going to have to try another method to show this dress.  Black on Black doesn't show much.