No time to write, so I thought I'd post some pictures of my room. I finally cleaned it on Saturday. It needed it!!! I'm telling you, it was a mess. Piles everywhere. Now I can think clearly again. whew.

trying to work...hah


A few more here.
Also, this makes me laugh! Love it!

i feel like writing whatever i feel like writing


to the lake
{finally had a chance to visit the lake the other day, only to find out the beach was closed. but we had fun anyway and i will go back to be sure! a few more pictures on my flickr.}

Dude, this chick has got something going here! {Thanks Casey for pointing out that link in your blog!} Let's just say I'm definitely going to be making this dress as part of my summer wardrobe. Looks easy, I've actually got some jersey fabric sitting in my closet {it's been there for umm almost going on three years now??} and it's the perfect weather for dresses. So yeah, totally going to be printing this one out for when I get a spare moment. These days the free-moments have been few and far between. I'm really trying to get a lot of work done and instead I'm going crazy over here feeling like I am all of a sudden going back to school and writing research papers. It's kinda funny, but also I'm learning a lot. Mainly I'm learning how I need to prioritize. Also documentation, documentation, documentation. Yeah I know you are going "huh?" How 'bout we just leave it that way.

So back to my favorite topic; clothing and "stuff." Actually you know what? I've found that I can do quite well without stuff. I don't really have a lot of summery clothes because my style has changed a lot in the last few years and for some reason I thought I looked bad in shorts so I don't really have any, except for a pair I use to paint in. And I'm not buying anything right now. Thus the whole "anti-stuff-movement" I seem to be into these days. I haven't even gone thrifting in months. It's just too easy to see something that is a good price and blow my money on it only to find out later I didn't actually need it. Even a top for $3 is well, THREE DOLLARS! It's like going down to the coffee shop and getting a macchiato {to DIE for}, which these days I've tried to cut back on {sad, I know}. As far as clothes are concerned, I have enough so I don't walk around naked and if I'm so desperate to have something different to wear, I'll make it myself. And since my time is limited, I better wear whatever it is I am making for myself otherwise I will feel awful about spending all that time for nothing. When you do business you realize time is money. Whether or not that is a good thing, I couldn't tell you. Though somehow I still manage to waste large amounts of time. Now I feel like I'm contradicting myself. hmm...Anyway, don't listen to what I say. I'm sure you can find a million contradictions in my blog if you look at past entries. But I'm OK with that. Well now I'm just rambling.

Let's go back to the dress-wearing topic, because I like that topic.

I'm actually wearing dresses and skirts every day for the first time in umm since I was like a three year old. Every year I tell myself I'm going to do it and then every year I get all weird and decide I feel too dressy in a skirt or dress. Right now it's more a matter of "I'm hot, jeans suck." And who wants to wear jeans on a hot day, especially when your legs are severely sunburned from that day at the lake when ::ehem:: someone forgot to put on sunscreen? Besides, I've started quite a nice little collection of summer dresses. Some are vintage and some are dresses I've made; I'm hoping to add to that little collection when time permits. Of course the moment I end this post I will lay out what I'm going to wear tomorrow and it will probably be linen pants and a tank. Yeah, go me. But heck, I don't care. I'm gonna wear what I feel like wearing so whether or not it's a cute summer dress because I want to feel good and look pretty all in one, or a baggy shirt and baggy pants because I feel like it. Whatever it is, I'm sure the rest of the world will continue on as per usual. :) And that fact alone makes me happy.

Also, some music for your perusal.

rude awakening


skirt + sandy feet

Lately I've been thinking a lot about change. It seems to have come as a rude awakening this twenty-fourth year of my life. Though I'm sure it has been creeping up on me and I just haven't noticed. You remember me posting several months ago about change? I posted a picture of the word "change" for "this is... what scares me." And it really does scare me. I tend to forget about it when things seem to be going well and I'm content, but just as I am starting to feel the pangs of change, I kinda freak out. But then it's not as if I really hate change. All along what I really want is a big change to happen, I just don't want to experience it. I want to keep going my merry way and all of a sudden find myself in a comfortable spot; a different spot than where I'm at now. If that makes any sense whatsoever!

Here I am at a point in my life once again where I think... "what do I want? what I really really want?" (No, please don't sing that song...) So many options before me, but it takes ME to do anything about it. I'm the one who ultimately has to live with my decisions. Whether or not someone else tells me what to do. I live in a world where a lot of people like to give their advice. Not that it's always a bad thing, just that I think it makes it more difficult for a person to make any sort of decision and feel good about it, because they will always worry it isn't right. I think that is where I'm at right now.

So we are back to change. I have this weird feeling that more change is about to come, but it's up to me to make that happen. I can't just sit around all the time, waiting for it to come to me. As much as I hate to take that step, I think it is about time. I see people around me taking those steps all the time, but I've always been that timid little girl who is so afraid she will fall and scrape her knee, that she stays in the safe-zone because of fear. As far as I see it, fear is what keeps change and growth from happening. I think there is a point in your life where you find it's time to trust that maybe you can go out and ride that bike without scraping your knee. And if you do get scraped up, trusting that you can get back up again and keep going. Because isn't that what life is? Going out there, making mistakes, picking yourself back up again, learning, growing, understanding? The list goes on. I know it's terribly cliché, but there is a point to "trusting yourself." Confidence can be hard to find, though very easy to talk about. I can tell my friends over and over again to go out there and be confident in themselves, all the while I myself am shrinking in some corner. It's so easy to sit on your buns and think everything will come to you and fall perfectly in place; but it doesn't always work like that. If you ever want anything to happen, I think it's up to you. And sometimes it's better to fall flat on your face than not to have experienced it at all. So when you pick yourself up again, you can see that hey, it isn't so bad. Or maybe it is so bad! But how can you know unless you take that chance?

I thought this quote by Andy Warhol was fitting. :)

"They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."

vintage dresses make music oh so much sweeter


Do you ever listen to an artist/musician based solely on what they are wearing? Well today that is what I did. I was checking out World Cafe website, as I often do when I am in need of something to listen to while I sew, and as I was scrolling down through the different interviews I noticed this woman wearing a cool vintage dress. So of course I decided to skip the interview I was listening to (not all that interesting anyway) and went straight to Dawn Landes. I hadn't realized I'd heard her before about a year ago (singing "Young Folks") but now I'm gonna have to check out more of her stuff because I am definitely digging this sound. Not to mention her clothing selection ummm totally rocks. :)

writing for a magazine.

6.18.2008 looks as if I'll be one of the staff writers for Civil War Historian Magazine. For those of you who are out of the loop, you can find out more about this publication on the magazine website (which I don't think has been updated since the recent changes):

Basically what happened was this guy I know through living history/reenacting had just recently taken over the publication of this magazine and was in the process of finding new staff writers. So he called me up and asked if I would be interested in taking over the citizens' section in the magazine. This section would include anything that would pertain to civilian women or men during the Civil War time period. However, I may not always have to write every article and in some cases another person may be better equipped to write an article on a subject they know more about.

When I first heard about it I'm thinking "ummm I'm not a writer! I don't really know what I'd write about!" But I got to thinking about it and although I'm not technically a writer, people have said I'm not that bad at it. And besides, this is why they have editors, right?? So we'll see how this goes. I have a feeling I'm going to be reading a lot more these days and instead of sitting around sewing all day, I can do a combination of sewing and reading, writing and thinking more. Now let's hope I continue to stay excited about all this! I have some ideas up my sleeve about some topics to write about. And I already have a close deadline to meet for the next issue. So I guess I'm gonna have to get on the ball and start rolling! Let's hope I don't make TOO many enemies after people hear I'm writing for the magazine...haaah. It should be an interesting experience, to be sure. :)

cherry bounce & summer dresses


{made this yesterday & hope to wear it often in the hot summer days to come.}

Well the water is starting to recede and blocked roads are beginning to reopen. It's gonna be a nasty and probably a very long clean-up process, but it will get done. In the meantime, I am still enjoying the weather, despite the massive rains we've been experiencing. And the humid summer months will continue to annoy the hell out of us. Bad hair-days here we come! (Though I am experimenting with something to battle this; we'll see if it works.)

Onto something a little brighter...

Yesterday I got this serious summer-dress kick. I think it was partly due to a recent post I happened to read the other day on abby try again. She's seriously a huge inspiration. For those who haven't already seen her photographs and her blog, check it out 'cause she rocks. :)

sundress - purple + green
{close-up of the dress.}

Anyways, back to 'serious summer-dress kick.' Several months ago you might remember me talking about making a 'little black dress' for formal occasions. Well that hasn't happened yet, though I did start making a pattern and got to the point where all I needed to do was fit the muslin mock bodice to make sure the pattern worked. Never got around to it... until yesterday. All I needed to do was make a few minor adjustments to the bodice and I was good to go! (I love it when it works like that.) Instead of making the black dress, I decided to make a sundress with some printed cotton I had in my stash. And it just so happened that I already had green binding and a green zipper. Cool. I did have to adjust the skirt because using two panels of 40-something-inch wide fabric made me look like a little 7 year old after it had been gathered to the waistband. Not exactly what I had in mind. But the adjustments I made weren't too terribly difficult and I like how it turned out in the end. I also made sure to add pockets, which I loooove in skirts and dresses. There ought to be a rule that every dress should have at least one pocket. And yeah, there definitely will be pockets in the black dress I make. Whoever invented pockets; I love you.

sundress - purple + green
{why take a picture of my feet? just because.}

Another thing I've been getting into the last few days is making Cherry Bounce. It's this glorious 1850s drink that is made with whisky, cherries and sugar. Lots of sugar. It's pretty much to die for, but you have to be careful how much you drink 'cause that stuff is gooood. The only thing about making this is you have to make it when the cherries are in season (well, duh) and then it takes 6 months to do 'its thing' before you can enjoy it. But it's so simple to make and definitely worth the wait. And hey, it makes a great gift come Christmas time!

cherry bounce
{cherry bounce goodness.}

Frank's Cherry Bounce Receipt:
  1. Fill a 1 quart jar with cherries [I purchased 1 lb bag of cherries and that worked for about two jars] and about 1 cup of sugar/ brown sugar / or molasses. [I used just plain white sugar.]
  2. The rest of the space fill with the cheapest whiskey you can find. [A bottle of 750 ML. should be enough to fill two jars.]
  3. Seal the jar turning it every two weeks.
  4. Open around Christmas Time.

when it rains, it pours


Flooding in Cedar Rapids
{Picture from the Gazette Online showing the downtown area in Cedar Rapids.}

Literally. All of downtown is flooded. Amazing and horrible all at the same time. The front of the Gazette website has a pretty good shot of downtown. Here's some pictures on a youtube video. Absolutely crazy. Strange to think that just last weekend I was walking around downtown for the big farmer's market. And now? It's all covered in water. They say the river could get up to 30 ft. Then again, earlier today they said it would only get to 20 then 24. So time will tell I guess. I feel pretty bad for those who have lost so much. I don't live in the city, so I'm far enough away that it doesn't really affect me. Though I'm almost afraid to go out because a lot of the roads are blocked off at the moment. Let's hope this all gets cleared up soon so people can get on with their lives...



Just wanted to get back on here and update a bit. It's been a Very Strange Week. I turned 24. WOOHOO! That started out the week. It was a strange birthday and that's all I'll say about That. However, I am one year older and I'm pretty happy about being in my mid-20s, despite the fact that everyone puts me at least 6 years younger than my age. And no, I do not believe that when I'm old I will look younger. It doesn't work like that. At this point in my life, it is not a compliment when someone says you look 16 or 18. Might be cool when I hit my 30s or 40s, but at the moment, not so much. Besides, I have no idea why people feel the need to always comment on your age. Which reminds me... Apparently I'm now married; to whom I have not the faintest. Would be kind of nice to know who the sucker is. Basically what happened was some dude referred to me as "Mrs. Allen" on a public forum I frequent for my living history stuff. Not a huge deal, just has never happened to me before. Weird.

Gotta say, this whole week has been filled with "weird moments." One after the other after the other. Here I have this wonderful week in Georgia. Really really wonderful. I come home and am pretty much hit by reality. Then some more reality. Then a little TOO much reality. And by the end of it I am thinking "wait a minute...what just happened here??" And then I sat back and thought about what I've learned or have been learning a lot about in the last year or so. No, I take that back. This is something I've learned in the last umm lifetime and I guess I will continue to learn about it...

#1 -- You can't please everyone.
#2 -- People judge. They just do.
#3 -- Somehow, someway, there will always be disappointments. Always.
#4 -- But just when you think it's the worst it could possibly be...
#5 -- Life Goes On.

And that, my friends, will complete this entry for tonight. It's been a bit stressful, if you cannot tell by the tone of my post. But I'm dealing and it's OK. I do want to say I've unintentionally taken a bit of a break from blogging/reading blogs/flickr-ing/online obsessing etc etc etc. I think it can be a good thing. I'm still on a "mid-19th century high" after Pickett's Mill so I may get back on here and talk about historic nerdiness. I flipping love being a nerd. Makes me feel so free. And despite all this "weirdness" lately, I'm still excited and looking forward to a lot of happenings this summer and beyond. Life is funny and it amazes me all the time. I'll be back...

"this is the life" (alt. title... "ass in the mud")


Mean Girlz :)
{Wetplate image taken at Pickett's Mill - Dallas, GA by Wendell Decker. May 31st, 2008.}

Well here I am; back in ole Iowa once again. If you've been keeping up with my blog, you'll know I went off to Georgia last Wednesday and just got back on Tuesday. I'm going through withdrawals already! I had so much fun; it's hard to know what to write about. I think part of the fun I have at these things is the good friends I hardly get to see coupled with the experience of re-living the past. Wednesday I drove to St. Louis to hook up with my good friend Silvana and from there we hitched a ride with our Kansas City buddies. We started out around midnight or 1a.m. and drove through the night; all 9 hours to Dallas, Georgia where the Pickett's Mill historic site was located. What an absolutely gorgeous area this is!! Words cannot express the beauty in that neck of the woods. From Thursday through Sunday we had the most wonderful 1850s cabin to stay in. It was a dream come true. I've stayed in cabins before and old structures from the early to mid 19th century, but this building really was in great shape; better than most I've seen. Suffice it to say, I was totally impressed. Even the guys we drove with were jealous we got to stay in the building and not them. But they got to sleep in the original trenches that are still there today on the battlefield, so they didn't complain too much. ;-)

Mean Girlz take 2
{Picture taken just before our tintype was made.}

I won't go into detail about the weekend, because there was just too much that happened. My friends I miss terribly and the experiences I'll never ever forget. There were lots of laughs on the drive in the car filled with five guys and the two of us girls in the back, along with another truck with two guys caravaning the whole way. Those boys are some of the sweetest and most thoughtful people I know and I'm so fortunate to have them as friends. I could probably write a book, but instead I'll leave you with a handful of pictures from the weekend. Most of them were taken discreetly or before/after the event. 'Cause ya know, my camera isn't exactly "period correct" for 1864. ;-)

put 'em up
{Silvana and I fightin' and being silly, as usual.}

Liz + Anna
{Liz and I trying to look tough.}

Cabin at Pickett's Mill - GA
{The incredible 1850s cabin we got to stay in.}

behind the cabin
{More structures being built, located behind the cabin.}

Setting up for dinner on Thursday
{Getting ready for dinner Thursday evening.}

The guys gettin' dirty
{TJ, Kelly and Jay rolling around in the GA dirt. Dirty boys. ;-) }

Some of our friends at the event
{A bunch of our fellows. They're all sweethearts.}

the drive
{On the drive with our KC buddies: Mike and Forrest in the front, Jay, TJ and Kelly (who you can't see in this picture) in the middle seat. Silvana and I were giggling in the back seat, like any girls would do in a car full of guys. teehee. :) We had waaay too much fun.}