Monday, December 17, 2012

The "Dickens Christmas Doll"

I am, as usual, very behind in posting. Drat!  Well, as I mentioned in my first Christmas post, December is a busy month for time travel.  I wrapped the holiday season up this weekend with a day as Ellen Emerson for the Orchard House Christmas program, and I am greatly looking forward to going home to see my family next weekend!

Anyway, while I haven't quite made it to a real post yet, here is a quick snap from caroling before Fezziwig's Ball!  I wore a bonnet I made several years ago, based on a description of an original (which will get it's own post eventually), my fur cape, and my tartan ballgown.  While Antonia was taking this picture she also decided I was the "Dickens Christmas Doll," so here I am, as a Madame Alexander.

by the town Christmas tree

in front of the hall

bonnet profile
I hope everyone else is perfectly prepared for the holidays! Or, if you've just finished, that you had a lovely Hanukkah.  (We celebrate both, so I am full of latkes and preparing for holiday food round two!)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas in the Regency

During the Regency era Christmas in America was very different from the way we celebrate today, but that certainly didn't stop us from having a wonderful holiday celebration with the resident 1812 Marines at the Commandant's house last weekend!

There were treats and punch (it was a party, after all), and in addition to dancing we also played Blind Man's Bluff. The U.S.S. Constitution also celebrated its annual tree lighting, but we didn't go down to the docks.  It was decorated quite nicely, though!  The Constitution's facebook page has pictures.

getting ready to light the tree on board
after our performance
posing as if we are about to dance--there would be more people in a real set, though!

In my plum velvet spencer and dress from this summer--I plan to have some new ones soon...
After the party was over we took some silly photos to make a poster for our upcoming season of regency events, which are all going to be fabulous!  We tried all sorts of "scenes":

whispering by the fireplace?

or chatting in the chair?
 Ultimately, it was dancing (of course), for the win!

Regency waltz hold and my rudimentary Photoshop skills
The boys were great sports about being our Darcy and Bingley for the shots, and I am pretty pleased with the final card!  The back has information about our upcoming events, which you can find here and here!

December is a very busy time of year, but I couldn't imagine the holidays any other way!

P.S. Happy Hanukkah, to those who will also be lighting candles tonight!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's That Time of Year...

...when my weekends are booked solid with HOLIDAY MERRIMENT!

Today I went out to hang with my family and start some of our traditions--including baking a million cookies for the Winter Party at the Commandant's House tomorrow and sewing my stays for said event.  Hooray!  I'll have much more to share as the month progresses of December throughout the 19th century (or the modern version of it anyway), but tonight I am going to bang out these stays while watching White Christmas, which is one of my favorite movies.

Also, to start off right, it snowed today!  So here's a clip from White Christmas in honor of the great New England tradition.

Also, here are the cookies I'll be bringing to the party tomorrow!

They are Dolley Madison's sugar cookies, First Lady from 1801-18017.  They are quite cake-like in consistency, and the cinnamon is a nice change.  All in all, not what we expect in a sugar cookie but quite nice!

(Adapted from the Jane Austen Centre, Bath UK)

2c. butter
3/4 c. milk
4 c. sugar
10 eggs, separated and beaten (yolks to a custard color, whites "stiffly")
1 tsp. cinnamon
flour to suit

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Beat egg whites stiffly.  In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Add egg yolks and cinnamon.  Fold in beaten egg whites, then add milk.  Add flour about a cup at a time until the dough reaches a consistency where it will stay in lump up spooned onto the cookie sheet (or however firm you like).  Spoon (I use a melon baller) into 1/4-inch balls and back for 10 minutes.

One thing that always throws me off with this is that the cookies will not change color as they bake.  To make sure they are done, lightly tap the top.  They should be spongy but firm.

Enjoy, and Happy December!