2015 – A New Year of History – The Regency and Beyond!

Hello my lovely creatures! Did you enjoy a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends? Mine was busy, busy, busy and has not quite stopped as I have yet to see any of my siblings. Lady E and Lord R are popping over today for a pre-NYE lunch since we missed them over Christmas, and then tomorrow Lord A and Lady B are coming by to celebrate the beginning of 2015.

Sadly, after January 11th all the War of 1812 events will be over, they are coming to a close at the Battle of New Orleans. Lord G and I spent a week in the Big Easy in December and I have a ridiculous amount of historical pictures and facts to share. Look for that in January!  I know some fellow reenactors who will be heading South and I cannot wait to see the pictures. Over 1400 reenactors are supposed to be in attendance! 1400!!

Though the Regency will live on long after our War of 1812 events are over, I have decided that I shall attempt not only to make Regency attire this year, but something a little bit later as well. You could say I am broadening my horizons! For Christmas, Lord G gave me two lovely patterns – a corset pattern for late 19th century and a Burda dress pattern from 1880, complete with bustle. I have to say I am very excited to attempt this project, as late 19th century offers a wider range of colours and fabrics and will be a challenge that I think I am up to!

 

Well I must run, dearest friends, but I shall write soon!

Yours always,

Lady Jen

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The 200th Anniversary for the Battle of Crysler’s Farm

So I’ve been trying to figure out how I wanted to approach my review of my weekend at Crysler’s Farm and my experience as a camp follower. Let me give you some background – I grew up in Eastern Ontario, I have been to Upper Canada Village more times than I can even count. In fact when I was 12 I wanted to LIVE at Upper Canada Village. So when emails started coming up about the 200th anniversary reenactment, I was intrigued if for no other reason then I would be able to walk around Upper Canada Village in period attire. In case you haven’t figured out already, I’m a little bit of a history nerd.

With the decision made to attend Crysler’s Farm, I spent the next couple of weeks scrambling to finish some outfits, including my shortgown (which I never ended up wearing because it was dark purple and by Friday afternoon I wanted nothing to do with anything that attracted the sun) and my stays.

I arrived Thursday afternoon, as I was riding up with Dave (who owns Coughlin and Upton. You should check out the website, it is pretty awesome.) There were several other people from our group already their so we went to work setting up our tents in the encampment. Surprisingly, wedge tents are not that hard to assemble, especially when the ground is so soft that you can basically push the pegs into the ground with your bare feet. Last week we got some pretty torrential rains and unfortunately CF was not spared. The ground was soaked, in fact at some points I was standing in the grass with an inch of water over my feet (thankfully my tent was not in this puddle), but it dried up as the weekend went by and it all added to the charm. In fact walking in wet grass was actually really nice when I was sweltering in my dress!

Thursday night was a challenge. I’m not going to lie. It was damp and cold and I spent most of the night tossing and turning on my cot, with my sleeping bag, my cloak and all four of my gowns on top of me. Needless to say by 4:30am I was wide awake and currently rethinking the entire endeavour. Since no one was awake, I headed over to the port-a-pottys and then went on a walk up to the monument.

I sat on the stone wall and watched the sunrise and it was one of the most pleasant experiences. It was so quiet and still, and it made me think of the original battle 200 years ago, and of all the villages and buildings that had been flooded when they expanded the St. Lawrence river. So there I was, going on only a few hours of sleep, cold, damp and crying over flooded buildings. This was really not going well at all, but I was determined not to let it get to me.

Friday proved to be a lot of fun, I went to the village with Steve and Lenore, and we had a great time touring the buildings! I also experienced being constantly photographed by tourists. At first it was very odd and slightly off putting, especially for someone who doesn’t really like to have their picture taken, but as the weekend progressed I got more and more used to it.

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After the your we went back to camp where more people had begun to arrive! Our camp was looking pretty great by Friday night! Which brings me to Port NIght. This is apparently an IMUC tradition and it was a lot of fun to be a part of. I got to try some really great Port, including a homemade chocolate port. I’m pretty sure I was in heaven when I tried that. It was so delicious! I was however still freezing on Friday night, but it was not as bad as Thursday night.

Saturday there was so much to see and do, and don’t forget the heat! I spent time perusing the wares of Sutlers Row, and found some lovely items including a very light weight wool shawl, a walking stick (for the most fashionable of ladies), cotton stockings, and a new ink well and pen.

In the afternoon I met up with my fellow GTRG Devon and we watched the afternoon battle. It was great (especially because we were in the shade), and it was very thrilling to see everyone in action though I know it was very hot for the people out on the field!

Saturday evening the group I was with, the Glengarry Light Infantry, had a potluck dinner – including roast beef cooked on an open spit and in a reflector oven! The food was absolutely delicious and the company even better!

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After dinner we walked over to the Village, where there was an ‘impromptu’ pistol duel followed by the night time battle. Playing an adulterous wife and having a duel fought over you is hard work, so I gave up my Regency ball ticket to someone else as I was just too exhausted by Saturday night, and Devon’s got an excellent review of the ball just below this one. I did however have enough energy to go back to camp and play a thoroughly enjoyable game of bid euchre where Andrew and I kicked ass! The score was 44-11, but apparently that’s debatable considering the game only goes to 42…

Sunday was much quieter and relaxed in the morning, we took our time going for breakfast and Kate and I spent a good deal of time sitting on the edge of the fountain cooling off our legs. In hindsight we should have started doing that on Friday!

Sunday was also the day of the actual re-creation for the Battle of Crysler’s Farm. Kate and I found a shady spot on the hill overlooking the battle and stayed until about the end, then headed back towards camp before the crowd dispersed.

The rest of the day was spent packing up, taking down tents, packing cars and then finally the long journey back home.

All in all I couldn’t have asked for anything better when it came to my first true reenactment – it was an amazing experience and I am definitely looking forward to the next one! (And next time I promise to take more pictures – the pictures in this post were taken by Steve Ball, to who I am very grateful!)

Crysler’s Farm

So last weekend me and the family headed out to Crysler’s farm area to take in the sites and the battles. That’s right this GTRG packed up her parents and the Hubby for a weekend of history. So here you have it folks my write up on one of the biggest 1812 – 1813 events of the season.

To start with I would like to be honest with you all I don’t camp. That isn’t to say I have never tried it. I have and it just didn’t stick. So we all booked in at a hotel and made a family mini vacay out of it. I have to give big big BIGGGGGG props to Lady Jen who toughed it out in a wedge tent. I point this all out because my weekend will seem vastly different to her recap.

So on the Friday night after work me and the Hubby tossed the duffel bag of stuff into the car. I should note that this time I was not just packing a costume for myself but also for Hubby. He has a vest from when he deiced he wanted to dress like the guys in madmen, was opposed to the short pants, and I had found a jacket that would do at a Goodwill. The only thing missing was a cravat. With the left over linen from my shift. “Great” I thought “I will tidy it up with a hem will be wonderful”. Well I sew by hand and manged to get just enough done to need to do the whole thing. Alright…I can do this in the car….and it was going alright until it got dark. After the ump-tenth time jabbing my finger Hubby suggested I put it down and talk him though the dances.

Lap sewing on a night time car ride...don't do it

Lap sewing on a night time car ride…don’t do it

The next morning after breakfast we made the short drive to Upper Canada Village. The place was packed! There was a ton of families which is great as it means that a whole new generation of Canadians are getting an intro into history.

After pulling in I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to find Lady Jen. After all the place was packed. No sooner then I had said this then I spotted a bonnet I knew all to well. I called across and after the pleasantry’s were exchanged we made our way over to the battle field to get a shady spot. Lady Jen joined us and seemed very happy to be in a cool spot. My Mother was very excited to get a good look at her reticule and they chatted for a while about it. (Side note to Lady Jen you really should get a pic of it up as it is very cute) Then with a BAM of canon fire the battle started.

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It was a good one but I have to say as someone who has worked in costume in bad heat I was really feeling for those Redcoats.

After we walked back to camp with Lady Jen and chatted with friends both old and new. Then we tok a walk around the folks selling there wares. Again me and my Mother looking at all the reticule’s. Keep an eye out for a post soon about me and my Mother making them…I can feel this coming.

Then we cheated and we went back to the hotel for dinner and to change. Coming back we headed into the Village in time to see both the dueling demo, (this time Lady Jen got to play the part of wife!) and the evening battle. Then it was time for the ball.

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You can see the dress I had been working on and as for the Hubby? At some point he stopped just being that and started really being his “Lordship”. From that point on he did not want to take the jacket off even with the heat. Not sure when he came up with a persona but told me if he was asked he had deiced he was a well to do lawyer, have a feeling this has to do with our love of Downton Abby. I know it’s the wrong era but hey he was getting into being dressed up and going to a ball. We both also got a big kick in a tourist asking to take a picture of us and then saying “Pesky battles getting in the way of you towns folks having a night out”

As for the ball, it was wonderful. The dances seemed to flow one into the next and the band was great. Me and his Lordship did cause a bit of a scandal as we danced every dance together! I know shocking right? Well that is why I am a Good Time Regency Girl and not a well behaved one. Also not sure if anyone knows but what would be the ruling on that for folks who are married?

We came back and let my Mother take a few more pictures of us before going back to our room. Apparently she had spent the night on her iPhone looking up pictures of reticule’s. In the morning and with the last bars of the Duke of Kent’s waltz in my head we came back home.

I want to end this post with a thank you to all involved. The troops the camp followers everyone
who put on a good showing. To those who organized and worked behind the scenes, I hope this blog finds you and you know just how much my family enjoyed the weekend.

Spencerville Heritage Fair – Recap!

So as Devon mentioned in our last post, we had an absolutely great time at the Spencerville Heritage Fair!

We spent Friday morning getting ready for the day, and also Devon and I had a chance to stroll through Kathy’s garden/yard and pretend we were in a BBC drama. The best part is that this picture was candid, I really was making that ridiculous face.

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Here are the Good Time Regency Girls’ Pictorial Top Ten from the Spencerville Heritage Fair:

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Thank you Spencerville

We would like to take a moment to thank all the folks who worked so hard on the Spencerville Heritage Fair. Also a big hello to all the new friends us Good Time Regency Girl’s made on the trip. Over the next few days we will be sorting out all the pics and the best of moments (ok well the whole thing was one big best of but you know what I mean..) and start posting up. Keep an eye our you might just see yourself. Also feel free to let us know how the fair was for you or any of the other 1812 events that you made it to this weekend.

Getting Ready for Ye Olde Day Out

Hello

So as you know we have made the trip out to the county side, and soon will be heading out to day one of the fair! Right now we have started our prep for the day, having spent last night up late sewing. Lady Jen has been working on her hair already, and me? Well woke up like it was Christmas morning and have been taking in the view. So are you up to something historical this weekend? Seems like most of the summer 1812 events are kicking off. Let us know in the comment section and remember we will be Tweeting all weekend so keep an eye out for updates.

Spencerville Heritage Fair 2013

Just a quick fly by post to say Lady Jen and Lady Devon are heading to Spencerville for the Spencerville Heritage Fair! It’s going to be an amazing weekend and we’re really looking forward to it! Can’t wait to post about it when we return!