Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Still Here!

Wow...that was a long disappearance! To be sure, I had a good excuse. First was the end of the school year, which (as anyone who works in a school can tell you) is a small bit of insanity. Thankfully, I got through it all fine. After that, my doctors discovered a really large cyst on my left ovary. I had major abdominal surgery, which had me laid up for ten weeks - yep, I basically didn't leave my arm chair for ten weeks. Sort of put a damper on reenacting, as I missed several big events, had literally no energy to sew a thing, and couldn't even dream of putting on a corset.

But I am back and better than ever! Perhaps the biggest thing to go down this fall is that I planned my own event. Last February, I had the inspiration to recreate the St. Paul Sanitary Fair of 1865. A Sanitary Fair was a sort of bazaar held during the Civil War, generally to raise money for the charities having to do with the war. They involved games, food, sales of items, raffles, anything to raise money. The St. Paul Sanitary Fair was held in January of 1865, and raised funds for widows and orphans of Minnesota soldiers.
I won't bore you with all the details of the planning, but we recreated the opening ceremonies and the Hop held in conjunction with the Fair, and held a silent auction to raise funds for a group working to build a memorial for the soldiers from Minnesota who fought in the Civil War. We raised a lot of money, and everyone had a fabulous time!

The whole building was decked out in red, white, and blue. The dance cards and dance sets were all red, white and blue themed. And of course, the menu was patriotic - the dishes all had names like "JEB Stuart's Cooked Goose" (which was actually turkey) and "Grapes of Wrath Wine Jelly". My good friend, Kit, recreated the menu from the original Sanitary Fair - 30 dishes, all of them accurate to the period.
For the auction, I sewed a smoking cap. It was the height of Victorian Hideous-Chic: olive green velvet, red and gold embroidery, and lined in a paisley polished cotton. It went for quite a bit of money, and led to a commission for another one! I truly lead a charmed life - who else could make money making ugly smoking caps?That's it on the auction table. Try not to barf.

The best part of all was having a good time with good friends and raising money for a worthy cause.

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