Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lovely Braid

What a darling braid for a young girl for a reenactment!

This video shows another lovely braid and how to make it.  If you have the hair for it, I think   : )   you will also need a friend to help create it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Gregory Timothy Hector

The Texas Living History community has lost one of our own.  Greg Hector has been a Living Historian at Texas forts and as an SCV member for decades.  He was a mainstay with his bugle, banjo, and as an Artillery commander.  We will greatly miss him.  He passed away on Nov. 9, 2014 in Brady, Tx.  Our prayers are with Donna, his loving wife.  Greg's obituary and a fitting video tribute can be seen at  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

On-line Book: Draping Period Costumes: Classical Greek to Victorian

ISSUU is a very interesting site that offers free e-magazines.  Some are full magazines and others are just samplers from the issue.  The link below is a complete book with tips on draping various eras of period costumes.  If you are interested in the 1840 and 50s, there are some nice styles.  The eras continue through the bustle period.  Hope this will be something you can use.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A New Use for a Vintage Tool

Sewing techniques have changed since the 1800s but many of the couture techniques come from that era.  That is one of the reasons I share these sewing tidbits with you.  Below is a video that shows a  vintage tool used in a new way.  Tell me what you think. Could you use these with your sewing demonstrations at events?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

FWLHA Ladies School

10:06am Oct 28
Howdy, Y'all!

Last year, Donna Hector, Beverly Wildes and ARNie Grabowski volunteered to organize the School of the Victorian Lady at Ft. Concho in March 2015.
We are in the final planning stages, and we'd like you to review our efforts so far, start reserving your classes.

To better disseminate the information, ARNie set up a blog just for the conference.

We have 4 to 6 slots open for anyone who would like to offer a lecture or presentation. We are asking folks to structure their lecture to a 20 minute time frame; you can certainly have more time if you want it, but the 20 minutes was hopefully not such a burden to prepare. This would be a great place to test a new interpretation, or just brush up on an old one.

ARNie is emailing various historical entities in hopes of securing some lecturers with a different angle on our passion: history.

Our Crafts Room is full! If you enjoy working with your hands we have 4 different classes, and a new type of weaving to try.

If you'd like to reserve a class, or volunteer to do a lecture/presentation email us at victorianladytx at yahoo dot com.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Surprising Variations on a French Braid

French braids are so lovely.  The crown braid shown in the first box would make a lovely hairstyle  for both young and more seasoned reenactor ladies.  This website has a picture tutorial which might make it easy to do with a little practice.

Let us know if you try it out.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Victorian Hair Styles

Victorian hair styles are amazing.  I know that a lot of it was done with hair pieces and "rats" but I don't think I would ever have enough time to get it to look so perfect.  Certainly don't have a servant to help.   Not only that, but it would never stay that way in the Texas winds. 
This website has a number of great pictures as well as hair decorations and accessories explained.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Video of sewing for the soldiers in WW1

I chanced upon this video and although it is not of the Texas frontier it does show sewing and boot making for the war effort.  Many of the techniques were not that far removed from earlier times ...just translated into the industrial age.  The song accompanying it is hysterical.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ft. Garland Presentation July 9, 2014

July 9, 2014
Army Wives Presentation
Ft. Garland, CO
Ann Dixon

References from Presentation

Army Officers Wives on the Great Plains website

Texas Beyond History Website 

Gllittering Misery: Dependents of the Indian-Fighting Army by Patricia Y. Stallard and Darlis A. Miller (Sep 1992)

Members of the Regiment: Army Officers' Wives on the Western Frontier, 1865-1890 (Contributions in American History... by Michele Nacy (Apr 30, 2000)

Thank you to the community and Friends of Ft. Garland for their warm welcome.  Fort Garland's website is

Ft. Garland, CO Memorial Day Living History 2014

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July Heroes Tribute

Monday, June 16, 2014

Stick a fork in it...

I just love this idea.  Think of all the pleats you can make without pain.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fort Chadbourne Living History for 2014

On May 2 and 3 of 2014, Fort Chadbourne near Bronte, Tx slipped through a portal to return to life.  Enjoy the movie.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

 Time to Remember...Honor...and Teach the Next Generation.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Victorian Blouse Inspiration

I found these directions on making a plain button down shirt into a Victorian blouse.  Keep the trim and fabric true to the era (1870-1890) and you can eliminate the tedium of basic sewing.
"Lace and gauze can turn the plainest shirt into pure Victorian femininity. Use this technique to add some interest to any button-down shirt you have hanging in your closet. . . .  You can also switch out the original buttons for some with filigree.
Make it simple with minimum trim and you can replicate this dress from the Civil War.

You can also use a white shirt and modify it to make a corset cover.

Other examples...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

School of the Victorian Lady Conference, March 8, 2014, Fort Concho in San Angelo, Tx

The Frontier Women Living History Association March 2014 conference was a great success.  This was the 10th annual conference that included learning about the women who were part of making Texas the state it is.  The speakers, Ann Dixon, Donna Hector and Stella Gonzalez  talked of women important in this area of Texas.  Julia Putman gave a presentation on Camp Cooper while Margaret Hoogstra told about the Texas Forts Trail book.  Larry Garrett taught and assisted the ladies in making market baskets.  Arnie assisted ladies with crochet and knitting projects, while Sharon taught collar and cuff embroidery.  Mitch Baird talked about the world events during the 1850-1870s that affected the US.  As usual, it was a very fun event with time to visit with old friends and make new ones.

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook

Friday, March 21, 2014

Crochet Chain Fringe

     When you are making a shawl, you need to finish the edge with some type of decoration.  Lace crochet and picots were popular.  Some shawls had curly-ques on the edge and others had fringe.  Standard fringe requires cutting individual strands of yarn and latching a certain number of them in each stitch desired on the edge of the shawl.  The technique pictured below is another way of creating a fringe using single chains. To my way of thinking, it is much easier and creates a more finished edge.  The fringe can also be created and sewn on garments.  Godey's Lady's book has a photo and similar directions for this craft. The tutorial below is much easier to follow.

Get an illustrated step by step tutorial at this website.

Friday, March 14, 2014

ARNie's Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

I wanted to thank everyone for such a lovely weekend during the School of the Victorian Lady, and your patience with my migraine.  I enjoyed meeting new friends, and re-connecting with old friends.

At the Tea, I brought a couple of things, but the Flourless PB Cookies were the big hit.  This would be a great recipe for a child's first baking experience, since there is no leavening to affect the timing, and with only three ingredients, the process is quick and easy.

For veteran bakers, the recipe is simple, but your ingredients can drastically affect the final product, because there are only 3.

I used a course granulated 'turbinado' sugar...HEB has the Central Market Free Trade Turbinado (on the baking aisle with the sugar.)  Sharon Baird had 'Sugar in the Raw' for us on the drink table, and it is a turbinado. These sugars have a flavor similar to brown sugar... which is what my traditional PB Cookie recipe uses, and Jiff actually adds molasses to their peanut butter.

You WANT those large sugar crystals, because they add a light crunch to this recipe, and it allows you to use less sugar. You get that burst of sweetness when you crunch down on a sugar crystal.

I used a 'natural' peanut butter, so there was no added sugar or salt or molasses or -most importantly- no added oils.  My batter was very stiff, even with a jumbo egg, unlike the source recipe which was soft enough to use a piping bag. 

1 cup of smooth peanut butter (but I guess you could use chunky, if you'd like)
1/3 cup of course granulated sugar- I used turbinado, but other versions are available
1 egg
pinch of salt (if your peanut butter doesn't have any)

Combine the peanut butter and sugar.  Stir in the egg until well mixed.

With a tiny cookie scoop, maybe a melon baller tool, or just a plain old tea spoon, make small dough balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  I got the entire recipe onto one institutional sized cookie sheet. 

This is another critical element of the recipe, these are really 'dense' and can have the effect of eating a spoon of peanut butter... so the smaller size minimizes this effect.  Keep the cookies to the size of a quarter, for the best results.

Make the traditional Cross Hatch by rolling the tines of a fork over the dough balls.  If you just mash the fork into the dough, it breaks apart.

Bake at 325F for 15 minutes, or until the dough is dry to the touch... I usually know when to check them, when I begin to smell them.

After they are out of the oven, I carefully slid the parchment paper with the cookies onto a cooling rack.  I got around 30 quarter sized cookies.

For the original, and other recipes, including gluten free, check out this YouTube account:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Victorian Bazaar and other announcements

Greetings and Salutations, from ARNie!

My humblest apologies for delays in my correspondence, I've been battling respiratory infections and asthma.  Consequentially, my part in the Conference was not confirmed in time for the major announcement.

I have, once again, volunteered to set up the Victorian Bazaar at the Ladies' Conference in March.  I am asking ladies who will be in place by lunch on Friday March 8, for any assistance they can offer me in unloading the lightweight fixtures I am planning on bringing.

Also, if you are planning on bringing things for the bazaar, please leave a comment to this post with your name and a list of items, so I can adjust the number/types of fixtures I bring, plan our space, and have name placards printed for you.

With my needing to be in place at OQ8 to help ladies with their Bazaar items, I won't be at the Arts and Crafts Lecture in OQ2 Friday Afternoon. Instead, I will again be offering lessons on knitting and crocheted lace, and a new addition, tying decorative knots. 

These will be impromptu lessons from 4 to 6 pm in OQ8, as we've done in the past.

The knots lesson will need 9-12 inches of cord, such as can be made with the lucet or the peg knitter that we studied last year... or... cord, rope, twine, super chunky yarn- no larger than a pencil- may be substituted. 

For the lace trims, you will need any yarn or thread you prefer, and appropriate sized needles or hooks.

For those who do a great deal of needlework, I will also have Nostepindes and Lucets (carved by Larry Garret) available with lessons on how to operate each tool.  The Nostepindes are used to hand wind 'center pull' balls of yarn/thread.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Victorian Needlework Book

Project Gutenberg's Encyclopedia of Needlework, by Thérèse de Dillmont

This needlework encyclopedia is available through Project Gutenberg and contains lots of pictures and instructions for various needlework forms.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

10th Annual School of the Victorian Lady, March 7-9, 2014

Frontier Ladies Living History Association
10th Annual
School of the Victorian Lady

Fort Concho National Landmark, San Angelo, Texas
March  7,-9 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen,
            I am excited to present to you the brochure and agenda for our upcoming School of the Victorian Lady at Fort Concho in San Angelo, Texas.  We will begin on Friday, March 7 in Officer’s Quarters 1 learning about the Arts and Crafts Movement and how it affected Victorian Design.   It is exciting to have Juila Putnam as our keynote speaker.  Julia is the Chair of Shackelford County Historic Commission and is the owner of the Pre-Civil War Era fort, Camp Cooper and owns the notorious frontier character, John Larns house.  Larry Garrett will lead a hands on basket weaving session where we will all have our own willow market basket to use in our living history presentations.  We will honor Margaret Hoosgstra of the Texas Forts Trails at our Saturday afternoon tea in Officer’s Quarters 2.  Margaret was instrumental in getting the fabulous new Texas Forts Trails coffee table book published and she will share this exciting story with us!  Three of our members, Ann Dixon, Donna Hector and Stella Gonzales will have presentations that will enlighten us about specific women who lived in the Victorian Era. Mitch Baird will lead us in an interesting foray into what was going on elsewhere in the world while the west was being “won.” Our Victorian Bazaar continues to be a success and each person can participate in placing items for sale.  The bazaar will be in Officer’s Quarters 8 and will be open to set up after 12:00 noon on Friday.  The bazaar will be open throughout the conference and will end on 12 noon Sunday.  Please bring items appropriate for our living history presentations including clothing, jewelry, knick knacks, material, etc.  You may also bring items for door prizes if you desire.  Our lunch will be Tex-Mex menu of fajitas and all the fixings with an ancho chili- chocolate cake for desert.  Please plan on attending and send in your registrations.  A limit of 25 participants will ensure all will have plenty of space to enjoy this wonderful 10th School of the Victorian Lady!
Sharon Baird

10th School of the Victorian Lady 

Friday-March 7, 2014 in Officer’s Quarters 1
4:00-6:00   Arts and Crafts Movement Influences on Victorian Design.  Light refreshments will be served        

Saturday-March 8 in Officer’s Quarters 8

7:30-8:45  Breakfast            
9:00 -10:00        Historical Research  Presentation about the life of
                            Laura Clarke Carpenter, 
 an actual officer's wife at
                            Ft. Lancaster and Ft. Stockton

10:15-10:50       Notable Women of the 19th Century by Stella Gonzales

11:00-12:00       Julia Putnam Chair of Shackelford County Historic
Owner of Camp Cooper and
                           The John Larn House
12:00-1:15         Lunch  
1:30-4:00           Market Basket Weaving Hands On with Larry Garrett
                           in Officer's
Quarters 2
4:15-5:00          Afternoon Tea with Honored Guest,
                          Margaret Hoogstra
  will discuss the  Forts Trails new
                          Coffee Table Book
              Dinner on your own
Sunday March 9 in Officer’s Quarters 8
7:30-8:45        Breakfast   Officer’s Quarters 8
9:00-9:45      “The World at Large,” What was going on while the West
being Settled? Presentation by Mitch Baird, Site
 of Fort Griffin SHS
10:00-10:45   Victorian and Early 20th Century Embroidery
 Learn Mary Thomas’s techniques and designs
11:00-11:30       Donna Hector discusses Frontier Women
Download Conference Brochure
For the Gentlemen:
The Old Fort Griffin Memorial Regiment Presents "The School of the Ceremony"
The school will be held at Fort Concho March 8, 2014.  Lead instructor will be OFGMR Infantry Captain Lee Ragan.  Subject matter will include morning and evening formations, reports, and various ranks taking different roles.  There will also be instruction in parade marching.  Be prepared to take notes, as there will not be printed material.  There will be an air-conditioned barracks available for those not wishing to utilize hotels or RV’s.  Classroom instruction as well as practice on the parade field can be expected.  A $10 registration fee will cover breakfast and lunch.  We look forward to seeing you there.
YMOS,Timothy Phillips, Sgt.