Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Frontier Women Living History Association Conference

Frontier Women Living History Association
9th Annual Conference
Fort Concho Historic Landmark, San Angelo, TX
March 8-10, 2012

The 9th annual Frontier Women'sLiving History conference was a great success.  There were about 26 ladies attending from such far away places as Kansas, New Mexico, Louisiana as well as Texas. We were thrilled that the Ft. Larned, Kansas,  and Uvalde, Texas ladies could be with us again this year.  We welcomed two new ladies, one from Alamagordo, New Mexico and
another from Fort Worth, Texas.  We were especially glad to welcome back, Joan from Louisiana, after a year's hiatus due to medical issues. It was wonderful to have all the ladies back together again for a great learning and fun experience.
 Friday evening featured an early meet and greet with a lace making
session taught by Arnie Graboski, our yarn expert. The annual bazzar came to life at this time, filling two rooms.  There were tea cups, shawls, wraps, and other needle work by Arnie.  Ann had sontags, woolen bonnets, leather journals and bags.  Kathy, Jo and Joan had beautiful period needlework, covers for water bottles, baby shoes, hairnets and other interesting things.  Jere had her carefully researched period earrings and other jewelry. Shopping was and proves to still be a popular pastime for ladies. 

 The next morning,  Mitch Baird presented an enlightening talk on the Texas Historical Commission plans for Living History events and information on the tax benefits for living history volunteers.  On Sunday, he also presented some historical documents from Ft. Griffin, including a newly acquired letter from a soldier stationed at Ft. Griffin to his family which was full of everyday frontier life chatter. 
Donna Hector instructed the ladies in the use of a beautiful handmade loom called by many names...spool knitter, knitting nobby, knitting Nellie.  Each lady got to take one of these lovely looms home with here.  Arnie lent us Lucets and showed us how to make a cord for lacing and tying.  In America, the technique dates back to the Colonial period when garments were laced rather than buttoned.  The next presentation was by Beverly Reeves who introduced us to ribbon embroidery.  Each lady made a needle case for those indispensable sewing tools.  Sally Wolfe of Ft. Concho entertained and informed us with information on tips, tricks and shortcuts of putting together a living history impression. Sally was a volunteer coordinator for the Ft. Bliss Museum and responsible for clothing and educating its many volunteers.  She amused us her stories and her hard-learned tricks.  Lunch was a delicious affair prepared by Sharon Baird with recipes from our Italian immigrant pioneers.  Before the tea, door prizes were chosen.  The door prizes, donated by the participants, included books of historical interest, a corn husk bride doll, antique metal items from Clyde Prince's collection, and lots of other interesting and beautiful items.  Each lady was thrilled with her prize.    Cheri Miller and Sara Reeves organized another delicious tea. 
All the ladies dressed in their finery and were served tea and delicious cookies made by the Uvalde ladies, the recipes of which were at least 125 years old.  One cookie recipe was made to accompany a long trip west because it remained good for several weeks.  (Do cookies remain in your house for more than a few days?  Not mine!) We hope to have the recipes and will post them here.

Sunday morning dawned bright and cheery with all clocks springing forward...some with more enthusiasm than others.  We meet for wonderful instruction on the use of period writing instruments and period penmanship by Sharon Baird.  We practiced our period penmanship copying from antique documents.  India ink stained fingers were the decoration of the day.  Finally, it was time to begin the long wagon rides to our respective forts and homes.  Another wonderful conference fades into history with friends and memories to be remembered with fondness.

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