working class women


1860s Stereoview - fisherwomen

I've been mildly obsessed with working class women from the mid 19th century lately. (You see how my interests are constantly changing?) In the last couple years I've really been getting more fascinated by the working class. I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps there is something I can relate to with the working class of the 19th century over upper class society. I do love silks and pretty dresses just as much as any other girl, but there's also something I can't quite point out that I love so much about lower class women and their wardrobe. The other day I tried about a million searches online for images of working class women. You know how incredibly HARD it is to find images of the working class from the 1840s-60s period? It's mad hard. So any little image I found I'd get slightly obsessed over, then I'd go back to more google searching. haha. I found a few images I am very interested in. I'm not sure their origin. One of them looks like it could be from Europe somewhere. And then there's genre paintings to study, but then you can never be totally sure of paintings. There's always that chance the artist decided to "adjust" the scene he was painting. So we can't always be sure it's totally realistic. Unfortunately, actual photographs from the period are rare of working women. Of course there are tons of occupational images of men. At least there are more than women. So it's kind of a rip for us women. Well I'm still searching and hopefully somewhere along the line I will hit a jackpot and find a ton more photographs. I can hope!

3g04077u_LOC_occupationalwomanfromlibraryofcongress_digitalID_cph 3g093553c08731u_LOCbetween1860-80

Wednesday I'll be heading out for Georgia! I'm totally psyched! I'm just not too fond of ticks and scorpions. I know, I'm a total wimp, but they gross me out. I don't like the thought of small creatures crawling on me and drinking my blood. And then the thought of a scorpion biting me, even if it's not poisonous...YUCK. Or waking up one morning with a scorpion on me. ew. Now I don't even know why I should be even the slight bit worried. I've slept in many-a-creature-insect-bat-filled area several times before in my life. Most of those times I probably had no idea there were creatures walking around me and yet I'm still alive. :) I should be scared of larger animals, but somehow I'm not really scared too much by those. Am I weird or what? I guess so. But all that aside, I'm still totally excited for the week! Me and the bugs will have a grand ole time--I'm sure of it!

Milkmaid_FosterMilkmaid_MillnerPeeling Onions

Btw, thanks for the comments in my last post! I haven't had a chance to respond to them yet. I've been so crazy busy trying to get sewing projects completed before I head off for the week. I'm so excited to be having a break. I think it's MUCH needed!

i'm such a horrible bad person


{1930s sunglasses from a German eBay store.}

Okay, this could be debated. But I just had to share this recent eBay purchase. ehem... I could NOT resist. These were just too good to pass up. And I convinced myself that if for some odd reason I didn't like them on me, I could just re-sell them on eBay.

{Myrna Loy in Libeled Lady - check out those visors! cute.}

Honestly, is it really that bad of me to want to look like this? Will I look like a complete and total dork? Then again, I don't seem to care if I look like a total dork, 'cause I like what I like and I wear what I want. :) And why should I care if I am "accepted" by my appearance? These simply make me happy and besides, they would go with the whole 1930s theme I seem to be obsessed with lately.

{Three Smart Girls 1936.}

On the subject of my '30s obsession, Saturday morning I made a bunch of sketches of some of the clothing I want to make myself for the summer. Mostly relating to the early to mid '30s. I got a lot of inspiration from French fashion magazines from the '30s while listening to music of Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire. Yes, I actually listen to this music and I love it. Oh oh and I must share an image of the sailor shorts I'm gonna make. Haven't decided the material yet, but I'm leaning towards a tan linen or possibly a twill. Any thoughts?

{another scene from Three Smart Girls.}

spring cleaning::amish vogue::cabins in the woods etc etc etc::



Oh where to begin. What a hectic week so far! Gahh it's already Wednesday too! I feel like there is so much to get done and not enough time to get it all done in. bleh. It did feel good to know I sufficiently creeped a few of you out, though. mwahahahaha. But you have to admit, that story about Mrs. Snead WAS very intriguing. Or maybe I'm just morbid like that. Oh man, I need to show this to my friend Erin. She would love it. It's the perfect 100 year old murder. I think that picture really helped pique my curiosity, though. Just look at her eyes and that HAIR! Okay okay, I'll stop being morbid...for now. :)

top of dresser
{check it out! Vogue Italy!}

First off, I have to tell you about something I got in the mail from this lady I randomly met on flickr. It was all so funny how it happened too. I saw a picture she uploaded from the Vogue Italy magazine and thought it was so amazing that I then looked it up and found some more info on it. I later wrote a blog and then SHE happened on my blog and read that I was looking for the magazine. WELL... I got a message from her through flickr telling me she was just about ready to get rid of hers (she's in a purging mood, must be the spring air 'cause I got it too...) and said she would love to send it to me. Isn't that the sweetest thing? I can tell you I'm pretty ecstatic about it! So when I get a little more time to sit down and, I mean, LOOK at the pages a bit more I'll take pictures and post them to my flickr so you all can drool with me. :)

{vanity - all painted white}

I've been doing a lot of spring cleaning. I cleaned my room halfway about three or four months ago and now I'm back at it again. I recently painted the dresser and vanity my mom gave me. We think it's from the 1940s, but it was looking rather sorry the way it was, so I felt like it needed some paint. I painted it plain ole white, but I like it a lot. Definitely brightens up the room. Now to get rid of all the piles I have out on the floor. There's just a lot of stuff I'd been putting off for soooo so long and now it is time I must utilize the trash can. Well that and the local Salvation Army. Though I was annoyed that I came to the drop off just about 25 minutes too late yesterday. grr. And I don't believe one should just drop off stuff and leave it there after hours. I hate it when people do that. ehem... So I suppose I'll have to go back next time I'm running errands. Perhaps it will give a few of my friends a chance to look through the stuff before I go back. ANYways... I could go on and on and on about my cleaning adventures. I'm giving up my pack-rat days and starting fresh. It's just so much easier to live when you don't have piles of crap surrounding you. (And no, fabric does NOT count as crap.)

dresser dresser drawer
{left: dresser, right: inside one of the drawers}

Oh and speaking of fabric, I am thinking of making curtains for my room. They've got to be able to go places with me whenever it is I move, so I am thinking of being a copycat and making these exact same curtains {from SouleMama}. I know it's horrible of me to copy her idea, but I love that fabric so so much! Plus, making them floor length is a brilliant idea. And if I got tired of curtains, hell, I'd make a dress! Right now I don't have the money to be spending on curtain fabric, though, so that idea is just gonna have to wait. A girl can dream though, can't she?

Annnd last but not least, I finally, after going back and forth about a bunch of different transportation issues, found out I am going to Georgia at the end of this month. HURRAH! It got all complicated because first I was going to ride down with some guys I know in Kansas City, then they got all filled up and I was going to hitch a ride with a few friends in St. Louis. Then someone in that party dropped out and my friend and I who were left didn't feel comfortable doing all the driving ourselves. Sooo our Kansas City buddies said they would help us out. I just did not foresee myself driving 9 hours or so to Georgia beginning at midnight. Yeah, that's what the guys have planned anyway. To leave St. Louis at midnight and drive all through the night. yeeeahh. I've done this before when I drove with a few friends to Louisiana. Man was that a little crazy. And even then I didn't have to do any of the driving. I just had to keep on talking so the driver didn't dose off.

image probably from the 1850s
{image probably taken in the 1850s}

So if everything works out as planned, I'll be roughing it in a log cabin in the middle of the woods somewhere in Georgia. It should be kind of exciting. (By the way, for those of you who are like "huh?? Cabin in the middle of the woods?? What's this all about?" I do living history quite frequently. So it isn't uncommon for me to randomly go out into the woods and sleep there for the weekend. It's exciting and relaxing all at the same time. Kind of hard to explain, but I love it.) Apparently, the impression we civilians (more terms I use a lot and most people go "huh?" when I use them...) will be having is "dirt poor." That means a few of the participants will be walking around barefoot. I personally do not have quite enough guts to walk around barefoot. I'm just a little squeamish when it comes to scorpions and the like. thanks to accidentally walking on something that bites. I'll keep my shoes on, thanks.

I'm particularly looking forward to seeing some friends I haven't seen for way too long. That's another reason living history is so much fun. You meet a lot of great people all over the place. Then again, it's also sad because many times they live too far away to be able to see them more than a few times a year and sometimes less than that. Okay, enough blabbing on and on about that. Here's hoping the rest of the week is an extremely productive one...for me anyway. We're talking about some mad sewing over here! Mad I say! So much crap to get done, it's not even funny. sigh.



Mrs. Snead

Last night right as I was about to go to bed (it was around midnight) I happened to see this picture of a woman named Ocey Snead. It was rather a haunting image of her. There she is laying in bed; staring at the camera, her long hair draped over the covers with a baby beside her. Now this may not sound creepy at first, but then I read the caption underneath the photo. It reads:

"Ocey, who was found dead in an East Orange, New Jersey, bathtub in November 1909, drugged and emaciated, was at the center of scandalous murder case involving her mentally unbalanced mother and a spinster aunt who starved herself to death while awaiting trial. Along with a third sister they were thought to have conspired to drug and starve Ocey to collect $32,000 in insurance money. Ocey had two children, one of whom died in infancy. (Coverage in the New York Times noted the discovery of small bones in the furnace at a building where Ocey lived -- a Brooklyn tenement dubbed "house of mystery" and "baby farm" by the neighbors.) One part of the mystery is how two photographs of Ocey, very much alive, ended up in Bain News Service collection of glass negatives at the Library of Congress. (The other photo is dated 12-21-1907). Are the family photos obtained in the course of covering the trial of the sisters? Or is there some reason GGB would have photographed Ocey well before she died? (Cue organ music.)"

Being the curious person that I am, I decided to look her up on Wikipedia. (Bad idea to be doing this so late at night...) Not wanting to spoil the story for you, I suggest you go read it for yourself. Specifically the last two sections on her death and the trial. Sooo creepy. I had to remind myself that I don't believe in ghosts and there's not some weird crazy woman in white clothes standing behind me as I turn off the lights and walk upstairs into my bedroom. Yikes!

talk about falling in love


I just happened to see a picture of the cover of this magazine on someone's flickr pages and oh my. oh man. oh my, oh man. I am falling in love with the images in this issue! I'd never even heard of Vogue Italia before. Just take a look at these. I'm wondering if I can still get a hold of this magazine. It seems to have been out for a few months. I'm sure it ain't cheap either, but I do wonder if our B&N might carry it. hummm...Will just have to take a trip out that way and find out for myself. Yikes. So many inspiring images! Can I help it if I am terribly old fashioned? I just adore these styles.

{more images here.}

i've been a thinkin'


Thinking about the discussions that went on in my last post, I was trying to imagine if I could ever be capable of choosing one era in history to live in and stay living authentically from that one era for always. I'm not sure if that sentence makes any sense, but let me explain... I love so many different eras in history; I'm a horrible history nerd. Some time periods I love more than others, but in general, history intrigues me. Doesn't mean I know evvvverything about all the eras I'm interested in. So maybe if I was placed in one particular era I love, I may actually find out I hate it. But there are a lot of different aspects of times past which I adore and are what inspire different areas in my life.

Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era, but at the same time there are a lot of things I enjoy in this life that I live, that I don't think I'd want to give up. That said, I've often thought it would be interesting to try living exactly the way someone from the mid 19th century or the 1930s would have lived. I'm not sure I would have the ability to continue to live this way the rest of my life, though. Maybe it's just my age or that I tend to change my mind and my mood quite frequently. :) The more I blog on here, the more you will realize I hop around different topics a lot. In a few weeks I might be stuck on the topic of the Civil War and my favorite aspects of that time period, then the next week I may be talking about modern summer dresses or something silly like that. This is the reason I don't think I could have a blog that has an emphases on only one of my interests, because I have so many! I can't really choose just one. If I did that, I assure you, my blog wouldn't last very long.

So here we are with a smash-up of all sorts of stuff. I don't know if this here blog fits in a category or what. I guess when I started this blog I thought it would be a fun place to lay out a lot of my inspirations and a few of my thoughts. Mostly trying to keep my personal life to a minimum. After being severely judged in the past on a previous blog I had, I decided it was time to keep the personal life to myself and close friends. To the others, well, they can think what they want about what I believe and who I really am. I've learned most people will think what they want about you anyway and the true friends will take the time to get to know you. And if you're really curious about who I really am, then I'm not afraid to share it with you, but I've found most of the time laying out personal matters on a public blog is asking for trouble. I frankly don't have time to deal with it.

Looks like this post kind of strayed from what I originally planned to talk about, but I did feel like maybe it was time I talked a bit about why I keep a blog. It's not really about Anna Allen's life. It's more about little bits I find fun and interesting or worth sharing with whomever happens to find my blog. In a way, this blog is my inspiration board of sorts. A sort of conglomeration of lots of snippets of stuff I like or projects I'm working on. But as far as my every thoughts, my wishes, my dreams, my beliefs...this isn't the spot for it.

And on a lighter note, at the moment I am listening to Sarah Wood. (Also check out her cool blog. What a talent she is!) I love her voice and the fact that she plays a banjo. A sort of dream of mine for the last few years has been to learn the banjo. An instrument that I hated when I was younger I have since re-discovered its beautiful sound. I particularly enjoy the authentic style that was so popular in the mid 19th century. My friend Carl Anderton knows sooooo much about the banjo and has definitely added to my desire to play this instrument. I don't know how to play any instrument, so I'm a little scared to commit to learning the banjo. I'm particularly worried that I won't stick to it. Nonetheless, this is a life goal I hope one day to accomplish. And with that I will end this post. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. Don't forget to watch Cranford on PBS this Sunday!!! I know I will be glued. :) If by any chance you miss it (heaven forbid!) it looks like episodes will be available for a short time on the website. So really, you have no excuse to miss out on this one!

may day::


being silly with annie being silly take 2
{being silly with annie.}

Today is the beginning of a new month. Not just any month, but May! It's kind of a special month because it speaks of warmer weather, flowers, green grass, a sort of new beginning. When I was little my mom would buy candy like circus peanuts, m&m's and licorice and she'd pop popcorn and make May Baskets by putting the popcorn and candy in red plastic cups with the red licorice in the formation of a basket handle. We kids thought it was pretty swell and would get super excited to drive around our neighborhood sneaking to our friends' houses to drop off a load of baskets. It was fun to run up, ring the doorbell and run as fast as we can to get to the car before they saw us. These are the kind of holidays that my mom always had fun celebrating with us. She was full of great ideas and fun "sweet" projects to do on these occasions. We even celebrated Lincoln's birthday with a Lincoln Log (chocolate jelly roll filled with ice cream...amazing). I hope I can continue this tradition with my kids someday (if I ever have any, that is). ;-)

yummy pumpkin muffins
{pumpkin muffins my brother made.}

Last night I thought I would make some muffins for breakfast, so I thought I'd get out the cookbook and open it up to the recipe so I wouldn't forget. Well I forgot to set my alarm clock and when I got up to go make them, I saw my brother whipping something up. He said he saw the cookbook open and thought muffins sounded good, so he made them! How lovely. I have some pretty nice brothers, at least some of the time. :)

new dress
{cutting out a new dress. trying to avoid the ugly kitchen border print.}

And to really make my day and to continue my obsession for all things 1930s, I happened upon this lovely clip about a woman who practically lives in the 1930s every day, all the time. Isn't it absolutely marvelous? I happened upon her website several years ago and ever since have been a little jealous, but mostly fascinated about her way of life. Hearing about people who are passionate about history makes me light up. It's something I think has sort of gone-out in this day in age. No one really seems to care as much for history and the culture of times past. I just think people knew what they were doing back in those days and it wouldn't hurt us to learn from them.