Friday, November 12, 2010

A Candlelight Christmas

A CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS is an all day event held in Pittsboro, NC. Recapture the spirit of Christmas past amid the charming downtown of Pittsboro. Brought to you by the good folks at the Pittsboro Merchants Association, local artists, and people like you.

Our first event will be held on Saturday December 11th, 2010. There will be numerous (perhaps humorous) activities to experience throughout the day. Dressing up is highly encouraged.

The downtown will be filled with the sights & sounds of an old-fashioned Christmas - carolers, carriage rides, jugglers, magicians, musicians, bell ringers, and quite possibly a visit from the man himself, Santa Claus.


Throughout the day, we will have a variety of musicians & performers busking around the downtown area & stopping at local shoppes for some impromptu indoor entertainment.

11am to 5pm: Get a free handmade ornament from Liquidambar when you buy $50 or more.

12pm to 2pm: Carriage Rides - Take a little jaunt around the town.

12pm to 2pm: Gregory Blaine (of Rootzie) will be playing music at the Joyful Jewel.

2pm to 4pm: Avis Autry will be playing music at Urban Sampler.

2pm to 3pm: Jay Cartwright will be playing music at Davenport & Winkleperry.

3pm to 5pm: John Kincheloe will be playing music at Liquidambar.

4pm: "Fictitious History" Walking Tour; Join Emmett Davenport at the corner of Hillsborough & Salisbury for a rousing tale of Pittsboro's "History".

12pm to 6pm: OPEN HOUSE @ Starrlight Mead; Mead tasting $5.

1pm to 4pm: Thunder & Spice (a cappella medieval ballads, pub songs, holiday music) will be performing in the Tasting Room at Starrlight Mead.

2pm: Make Your Own Organic Bath Salts at Pittsboro Toys.

7pm - 11pm: LIVE MUSIC

Beginning @ 7pm, several downtown businesses will be playing host to some wonderful live music & performers.

The City Tap:
• Dave Quick

Davenport & Winkleperry:
Glitter & Doom: the Davenport Follies

• Silver Kitsune & Ginny Tonic (of Big Mamma's House of Burlesque)
• Sarah Shook & the Devil
• Kitty Box & the Johnnies

more festivities to be announced...

The Pittsboro downtown is an often overlooked wonder. One where a historic town with a tradition of small town atmosphere has challenged the concept of total modernization. It has continued to maintain its charm in a growing urbanized world. The shops are very up-to-date in their ability to service locals and visitors alike, with charming arts, clothing, services and eateries that rival larger areas. It truly is a community with a proud past and an exciting future.
Admission is free.

*If you are interested in getting involved with the event, please contact us*

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Victorian Christmas

For thousands of years people around the world have enjoyed midwinter festivals. With the arrival of Christianity, pagan festivals became mixed with Christmas celebrations. One of the leftovers from these pagan days is the custom of bedecking houses and churches with evergreen plants like mistletoe, holly and ivy. Apparently, as well as their magical connection in protecting us from evil spirits, they also encourage the return of spring.

No era in history however, has influenced the way in which we celebrate Christmas, quite as much as the Victorians.

Before Queen Victoria's reign started in 1837 nobody in Britain had heard of Santa Claus or Christmas Crackers. No Christmas cards were sent and most people did not have holidays from work. The wealth and technologies generated by the industrial revolution of the Victorian era changed the face of Christmas forever. Sentimental do-gooders like Charles Dickens wrote books like "Christmas Carol", published in 1843, which actually encouraged rich Victorians to redistribute their wealth by giving money and gifts to the poor - Humbug! These radical middle class ideals eventually spread to the not-quite-so-poor as well.

The holidays - The wealth generated by the new factories and industries of the Victorian age allowed middle class families in England and Wales to take time off work and celebrate over two days, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Boxing Day, December 26th, earned its name as the day servants and working people opened the boxes in which they had collected gifts of money from the "rich folk". Those new fangled inventions, the railways allowed the country folk who had moved into the towns and cities in search of work to return home for a family Christmas.

The Gifts - At the start of Victoria's reign, children's toys tended to be handmade and hence expensive, generally restricting availability to those "rich folk" again. With factories however came mass production, which brought with it games, dolls, books and clockwork toys all at a more affordable price. Affordable that is to "middle class" children. In a "poor child's" Christmas stocking, which first became popular from around 1870, only an apple, orange and a few nuts could be found.

Father Christmas / Santa Claus - Normally associated with the bringer of the above gifts, is Father Christmas or Santa Claus. The two are in fact two entirely separate stories. Father Christmas was originally part of an old English midwinter festival, normally dressed in green, a sign of the returning spring. The stories of St. Nicholas (Sinter Klaas in Holland) came via Dutch settlers to America in the 17th Century. From the 1870's Sinter Klass became known in Britain as Santa Claus and with him came his unique gift and toy distribution system - reindeer and sleigh.

Christmas Cards - The "Penny Post" was first introduced in Britain in 1840 by Rowland Hill. The idea was simple, a penny stamp paid for the postage of a letter or card to anywhere in Britain. This simple idea paved the way for the sending of the first Christmas cards. Sir Henry Cole tested the water in 1843 by printing a thousand cards for sale in his art shop in London at one shilling each. The popularity of sending cards was helped along when in 1870 a halfpenny postage rate was introduced as a result of the efficiencies brought about by those new fangled railways.

The Tree - Queen Victoria's German husband Prince Albert helped to make the Christmas tree as popular in Britain as they where in his native Germany, when he brought one to Windsor Castle in the 1840's.

The Crackers - Invented by Tom Smith, a London sweet maker in 1846. The original idea was to wrap his sweets in a twist of fancy coloured paper, but this developed and sold much better when he added love notes (motto's), paper hats, small toys and made them go off BANG!

Carolers - Carol Singers and Musicians visited houses singing and playing the new popular carols;

1843 - O Come all ye Faithful

1848 - Once in Royal David's City

1851 - See Amid the Winters Snow

1868 - O Little Town of Bethlehem

1883 - Away in a Manger

Monday, September 27, 2010

October 2nd, 2010

PITTSBORO BY GASLIGHT is an all day event held in Pittsboro, NC. Take a step through time and see what Pittsboro was like at the turn of the last century. Brought to you by the good folks at the Pittsboro Merchants Association, local artists, and people like you.

Our first event will be held on Saturday October 2nd, 2010. There will be numerous (perhaps humorous) activities to experience throughout the day. Dressing up is highly encouraged.


Throughout the day beginning @ 12pm, we will have a variety of musicians busking around the downtown area & stopping at local shoppes for some impromptu indoor entertainment.

12pm: The Festivities begin. Make sure you pick up your 'Pittsboro By Gaslight' Scavenger Hunt list.

12pm to 4pm: Wandering Minstrels will be busking all around the downtown area

12pm to 4pm: "Fictitious History" Walking Tour; Meeting at the corner of Hillsborough & Salisbury at the top of each hour (12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm).

12pm to 7:30pm: Have Egg Cremes, Sundaes, Frappes and other tasty treats at S&T Soda Shoppe.

1pm: Jay Cartwright performs at Davenport & Winkleperry

1pm: Miss Ellen performs at Pittsboro Toys

1pm: Miss Hemlock of Hemlock Emporium teaches children how to make rag toys at Pittsboro Toys

2pm to 4pm: Sue Wilson & Betsy Kraus perform at the Chatham Arts Council Gallery

2pm: Time for Afternoon Tea; Grab some tasty victuals at one of lovely eating establishments

2pm: Sue Ketchin performs at The Joyful Jewel

3pm: Miss Ellen performs at Pittsboro Toys

4pm: Parlor Games - Gather at Davenport & Winkleperry for some light-hearted interactive entertainment.

7pm - 11pm: LIVE MUSIC

Beginning @ 7pm, several downtown businesses will be playing host to some wonderful live music & performers.

The City Tap:
7pm: Robert Griffin
8pm: New Town Drunks (torchy rock & roll)
9pm: Jack Maverick & his Wild Rebels (Instrumental)
10pm: Kitty Box & the Johnnies (torchy rock & roll)

Davenport & Winkleperry:
7pm: Burlesque with Por Cel Ain
8pm: Gaslight Dance Party
Music provided by the Davenport Sisters

Pittsboro General Store Cafe:
7pm: 15/501
8pm: 406 (Jeff Hart)
9pm: Atomic Rhythm All-Stars (Swing/Jazz)

Virlie's Grill:
7pm: Big Al Hall & the Marching Rams (Bluegrass/Americana)
8pm: Down the Road (Bluegrass)

For more information:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

How to Host a Victorian Picnic

In the dog days of summer, one often desires a happy excursion to whittle away the hours with family and friends. What better way to do so than to arrange a Victorian summer picnic? Eating al fresco has been popular throughout history. The word "picnic" first appeared around 1740 and was derived from two French words: "piquer" which meant "to pick at food" and "nique," meaning "something small of no value." But they were even popular before Georgian era. During the Medieval era, picnics were included as an important part of hunting parties. They featured rich foods such as cooked hams, roasted meat, poultry, pies and tarts.

Picnics became most popular during the Queen Victoria's reign in England. Victorians delighted in picnicking and made it quite fashionable. Picnics were held at families' homes or other scenic locations. Although servants often attended wealthy families on picnics, they were casual gatherings, and only a few servants were required to be present.

Victorian etiquette prescribed that careful consideration should be taken in choosing an appropriate site for a picnic. Even though a view near a cliff may have been quite breathtaking, such spots were considered to alarm the ladies present. Gentlemen had to be careful not to seat their guests near ant hills or places without proper shade. Before you send your invitations out, make sure you find a pleasing site with sufficient, but not too much, sunshine for the time of the picnic; plenty of air movement for cool breezes, and healthy grass. Location can make or break your outdoor summer event!

During the 19th century, each guest often brought along a dish for a picnic, but eventually, it became customary for one family to organize and provide the food for the picnic. Armed with baskets filled with dishes and utensils, Victorians believed picnics should be just as civilized as eating in a dining room. And the food was just as sumptuous: iced champagne rolled in wet newspapers to preserve the chill, lobster tails with homemade mayonnaise, cold poached chicken with cream sauce, trifle (chunks of pound cake, fresh fruit, rich custard and cream) and whiskey punch to wash it all down. And Victorian picnickers did not dream of eating outdoors without a kerosene burner to boil their kettles for tea. Thus, the true mark of a Victorian picnic is to make sure your food is more than cold cuts and chips. Prepare your menu as if you were hosting a proper meal in your home. And your dishes need not be overly rich or time-consuming to prepare; our Recipes section features a number of simple recipes for tea sandwiches that would be perfectly appealing for a picnic.

After the last dessert was served, those with musical talents were expected to entertain the party. Games like croquet, tag and blind man's bluff were played. Ladies often conversed with each other. Some would explore the area and look for flowers or wild mushrooms. Men and women followed rules of propriety. It was not looked upon favorably if they wandered away from the party alone for too long. Therefore, when planning your picnic, allow your guests sufficient time to enjoy the surrounding area, and come prepared with some leisures activities in mind (frisbee rather than croquet, for example).

Finally, remember to keep your guests well hydrated, as any thirsty child or adult is more likely not to enjoy an otherwise well-planned outdoor event. Depending on the time of day that you host your picnic, sun and heat exposure can make any guest somewhat listless and irritable. During the Victorian era, drinking lemonade on one's porch was a popular pasttime in the summers. A "ladies-only" light luncheon may also have been served. In our Recipes section, you can find a simple recipe for lavender lemonade, a drink enjoyed during the 19th century. Consider serving your lemonade in an antique style, glass footed pitcher and tumblers. Victorians believed the violet-hued glass preserved good tidings within their homes.

Victorian Sports, Games & Leisure

In addition to the ever popular afternoon tea, Victorian families enjoyed gathering together for games in the evenings. Many Victorian games were active and silly, and have since been resigned to only being played by young children. A whole range of 19th century games, in fact, consisted of trying not to laugh. For example, "Poor Pussy" involved one proper Victorian guest having to crawl on all fours amongst the seated company, meowing piteously, and crouching in front of someone who had to respond, "Poor Pussy!" with an absolutely straight face. If either Pussy or the speaker so much as smiled, the latter became the new pussy. If both maintained their composure, Poor Pussy was Poor Pussy indeed, condemned to crawl toward another human in hopes of being relieved of his task.

Slightly less humiliating was "The Laughing Game." One person began by saying, "Ha"; the next, "Ha-ha"; and so on around, while all tried not to actually laugh. Whoever succumbed was eliminated as the "Ha" repetitions continued to increase around. Other games entailed silly postures: "Statues," for example, where everyone had to suddenly freeze in some extreme position, and whoever laughed or broke the pose was eliminated; and "The Sculptor," in which one player arranged the others as peculiarly as possible, toward the same goal. What we called Simon Says was then named "O’Grady Says." A game known as "Change" involved various objects--large, small, heavy, light-- to equal the number of the participants. The players began by standing in a circle, each holding one item. Someone appointed to give commands said "Go," and players had to begin passing anything they held to their right, while also taking whatever was handed to them. When told "Change," they had to pass objects to the left. To add confusion, several items were deliberately, simultaneously routed in the opposite direction. Whoever dropped something or passed it the wrong way was "out"--but all objects remained, making them harder to pass along smoothly.

Still popular today, "Charades" was played by the Victorians. One player from each team of guests drew a card on which was written the name of an object, person, book, movie, etc. (to make the game more authentic, you can limit the names of people, books and objects to those that were popular during the 19th century). The player had to act out what was written on the card within a specified amount of time, while his or her team members made guesses. Points were awarded for the correct guesses, and each team rotated until all of the cards were drawn.

"Musical chairs" was another popular game, which began with chairs placed in a row, with one chair missing. The guests were asked to walk around the room while the hostess played a short piece on the piano-forte. When the music stopped, the guests scrambled to find a seat. The guest without a seat was "out" of the game, another chair removed, and the game continued until the last guest seated was named the winner.

"Blind Man's Bluff" was an especially popular parlour game, although it in fact originated during the Middle Ages. The game is mentioned in period novels such as Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and was reportedly played by members of Queen Victoria's court. One guest was blindfolded, and spun around five times. While spinning, all the other players ran around looking for a good spot to hide. When the searcher finished the fifth spin, he or she yelled, "Stop," and all the other players froze in place. The player then searched for the other players by yelling "blind man's..." All other players yelled "bluff," disguising their voices. Even distinguished guests in proper attire were required to stumble around, attempting to track down the other players.

"Hot Boiled Beans" was another game in which one guest was sent out and an object hidden. When he returned, the guests shouted, "Hot boiled beans and bacon for supper." Guided by other players saying this meal was becoming cold, hot, even perhaps burned (if he was very near it), he searched for the article. In "Hunt the Thimble," a small item was hidden in plain view while all guests were out of the room. Upon returning, each guests was to sit down silently as soon as she spotted the item. The last person left searching had to pay a forfeit. Other old games such as "Hare and Hound" and "The Wolf and the Lambs" gave players license to chase or grab each other as they broke out of more controlled rows or circles.

The Victorians were known for their love of word games. In an 1856 almanac, one author wrote in a section entitled "Evening Pasttime": "Among the innocent recreations of the fireside, there are few more commendable and practicable than those afforded by what are severally termed Anagrams, Charades, Conundrums, Enigmas, Riddles, Puzzles, Rebuses, Riddles, Transpositions, &c." Victorians excelled at riddles that relied upon double meanings and the sounds of the words themselves. In addition, a whole range of guessing games expected losers to pay a forfeit meant to mildly embarrass, to provide a good laugh for all. Forfeits described in Patrick Beaver's Victorian Parlour Games included having to answer yes or no to three questions without knowing what questions had been selected, or standing on a chair and posing however the company demanded. For single guests, forfeits might include having to kiss another member of the opposite sex, or having a male and a female player be blindfolded and then dance together.

"Twenty Questions" was a popular guessing game that could end in forfeits, as was "Crambo," perhaps best described as Twenty Questions played in rhyme. The movie version of "A Christmas Carol" starring George C. Scott included a holiday party scene at the home of Ebenezer Scrooge's nephew. The game portrayed involved guests having to fill in common word associations, e.g., "poor as a... churchmouse." Alphabet and counting games generally dispensed with forfeits; players unable to supply an answer dropped out, and whoever lasted the longest won.

One of the oldest word games is "Grandmother's Trunk," where one guest began: "My Grandmother keeps (a word beginning with 'a') in her trunk." The next player continued: "My Grandmother keeps (the 'a' word) and (another with 'b') in her trunk," and so on, the list growing as the sentence continued around, making it a memory as well as alphabet game. There were also many round games substituting a sound or phrase for some recurring number or letter. Players had to anticipate the approach of the designated letter or (harder) multiples of the number -- and, the faster the game was played, the easier it was to fumble... and forfeit.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vintage Halloween Games

Guess How Many
Fill a jar with candy corn and have guests guess how many are in the jar. (Don't forget to count as you put them in the jar!) Place the jar near the door and hand each guest a 3x5 card to put their name, their guess and their favorite Halloween candy. Halfway through the party read them all off and announce the winner.

Halloween Memory Game
Place a few themed items such as a candy corn, apple, mini pumpkin etc. on a tray. Show the tray to the guests for a few seconds, then have them write down (or call out) as many items as they remember.

How Many Words
Hand each person a sheet of paper printed out with a Halloween word or phrase such as Haunted House, Trick or Treat, or Scarecrow. Do these on the computer so you can include some small Halloween Graphics. Ask each person to make as many words as they can out of the letters in the phrase or word you've given them!

Mummy May I
One child, or an adult, is "mummy". The other children stand in a straight line, with the mummy standing in front of them with enough distance for them to move forward towards him or her. (It's really neat if you can rip up an old pillowcase or sheet and stain them with leftover coffee or tea to wrap around the "mummy's" head.)

The children move toward mummy by asking permission to take steps. For example, a child could ask, "Mummy May I take ten steps forward?" The mummy can be creative as to the type of steps they ask to take, such as giant monster steps, pixie steps, as well as ogre, howling dog etc.

Mummy answers, "Yes, you may" or "No, you may not," and the child must follow her instructions. If the child moves when he or she has not been given permission, they must go back to the starting line. The first child to touch mummy becomes mummy in the next game.

Who's Got the Pumpkin
Place everyone is a circle. Start a song (Halloween themed songs like Monster Mash are neat to use!) and toss a mini pumpkin to one person, they throw it to the next, and so on until the music stops. The person who is caught holding the pumpkin has to leave the circle. The last one left is the winner and keeps the pumpkin!

Halloween Hunt
Using the same idea as an Easter Egg Hunt hide little bags of candy corn, or other fun candy around the back yard. Set the kids loose and let them find the candy. Be sure to keep back several extra in case someone does poorly. You can give them a few more!

Vintage Halloween Party

Mrs. Herbert B. Linscott, in the book, Bright Ideas for Entertaining, gives us a glimpse into the past with her tips on throwing a Halloween bash in 1905.

All formality must be dispensed with on Halloween. Not only will quaint customs and mystic tricks be in order, but the decorations and refreshments, and even the place of meeting, must be as strange and mystifying as possible.

The light should be supplied only by Jack-o-lanterns hung here and there about the kitchen, with candles in the dining-room. The decorations need not be expensive to be charming, no matter how large the room. Large vases of chrysanthemums and ferns and umbrella stands of fluffy grasses will be desirable; but if these cannot be readily obtained, quantities of gayly tinted autumn leaves will be quite as appropriate. Festoons of nuts, bunches of wheat or oats, and strings of cranberries may also help to brighten the wall decorations. The nuts and cranberries will be useful in many odd arrangements for ornamenting the refreshment table.

Have the table long enough (even if it must be extended with boards the whole length of the room) to accommodate all the guests at once. Arrange huge platters of gingerbread at each corner, with dishes of plain candies and nuts here and there, and pyramids of fruit that will be quickly demolished when the guests are grouped about the table. No formal waiting will be desirable.

Have mirrors everywhere; big mirrors, medium-sized mirrors, and little, wee mirrors, all reflecting and multiplying countless candles that burn in candlesticks of every description(most novel are those made from long-necked gourds and tiny squashes).

The dining table should be draped in pale green crepe paper, the lights above being shrouded in gorgeous orange. Pumpkins of various sizes should be scooped and scraped to a hollow shell and lined with waxed paper and filled with good things to eat, should be placed in the centre of the table. Lighted candles and quaint oriental lanterns will add greatly to the decorations.

The menu should include bannocks, scones and other Scotch dainties. If desired, droning bagpipes might accompany the feast. After listening to ghostly tales related by white-draped figures, the guests may receive all sorts of amusing souvenirs from a large pumpkin place at a table at the door.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

1st Class Dinner on the Titanic: An Edwardian Menu

Dining aboard the luxurious R.M.S. Titanic during the Gilded Age was a lavish affair, with first-class dinners comprising up to ten courses. As Lynne Hockney, producer of "Titanic Etiquette: A Time Traveler's Guide" and expert in Edwardian table manners, explains: "Dining was a social occasion that could last several hours." Dishes were served from the left and removed from the right. Drinks were poured from the right and never more than two-thirds full (half a glass for wine). The elegant appetizers served aboard the ill-fated ship included oysters, consomme olga, cream of barley soup, roast squab & cress, pate de foie gras, and salmon in Mousseline sauce with Cucumber. Main courses included filet mignon, lamb in mint sauce, beef sirloin with chateau potatoes, baked haddock in sharp sauce, curried chicken and rice, and roast turkey with cranberry sauce. Finally, desserts included Waldorf pudding, peaches in chartreube jelly, chocolate and vanilla eclairs, and French and American ice cream. Guests also ended their dinners by sipping coffee and snacking on assorted fruits, nuts, and cheese. Our menu below includes several of the actual dishes served during the legendary last dinner on the Titanic.

Canapes a L'Amiral

A canape (known in Italy as tartine) is a small, prepared and usually decorative hors d'oeuvres, held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite. Crackers or small slices of bread or toast cut into various shapes serve as a base for such savory foods as meat, cheese, fish, caviar, foie gras, purees or relish. Traditionally, canapes are made from stale white bread, cut in thin slices and then shaped with a cutter or knife. Shapes might include circles, rings, squares, strips or triangles. These pieces of bread are then prepared by deep frying, sauteeing, or toasting. This particular dish as follows was the first course on the last dinner on the Titanic, and was paired with Oysters a la Russe. Our recipe makes twenty hors d'oeuvres, one per serving. As a note, saute shrimp in their shells to enhance their flavor. If desired, peel and devein raw shrimp before sauteing. If desired, substitute lumpfish caviar for caviar. (Lumpfish caviar costs around $4.75 for a 2-ounce jar and usually can be found near the canned meats in supermarkets.)

20 slices (about 1/2-inch thick) baguette
1 teaspoon lime juice
10 small cooked shrimp, halved lengthwise
20 fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons caviar (see Cook's Note below)

Shrimp butter:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large shallot, peeled, ends removed, minced
1 clove garlic, peeled, ends removed, minced
8 ounces shrimp in shell, rinsed
1/4 cup brandy
4 ounces cream cheese, softened (regular or reduced fat)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Dash of vanilla

To make canapes:
1. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and toast under broiler for 1 minute per side or until lightly golden. Remove from broiler and set aside.
2. Drizzle lime juice over cooked shrimp halves; stir and reserve.

To make shrimp butter:
1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
2. Add the shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until softened.
3. Increase heat to high and add the shrimp. Saute shrimp for 4-5 minutes or until the shells are pink and the flesh is opaque.
4. Remove the shrimp and cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and discard shells.
5. Transfer shrimp mixture to a food processor fitted with the steel blade or a blender.
6. Return skillet to the heat and add brandy. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds or until the brandy is reduced to a glaze. Scrape the glaze into the shrimp mixture.
7. Pulse shrimp mixture until it is coarsely chopped.
8. Add the cream cheese, butter, tomato paste, salt, pepper and vanilla. Process until almost smooth and set aside.

To assemble canapes:
1. Place shrimp butter in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tube.
2. Decoratively pipe the shrimp butter onto the toasted baguette slices, or spread mixture on slices using a table knife.
3. Top each with a cooked shrimp half, parsley leaf and a small amount of caviar.

Creamed Carrots

This dish was part of the fifth course dinner entree on the Titanic's final dinner. Our recipe makes four servings, about 1/2 cup per serving.

1 pound carrots, peeled, ends removed, julienned
1 cinnamon stick (or substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

1. Place the julienned carrots in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Add the cinnamon stick and bring the mixture to a boil.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook 6-8 minutes or until the carrots are fork-tender. Drain the carrots and remove and discard the cinnamon stick.
3. Return the carrots to the saucepan. Add the butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper; mix well.
4. Add the lemon juice and cream. Bring to a boil for 1 minute or until cream is slightly thickened.
5. Adjust the seasonings if necessary. Transfer the mixture to a shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

Asparagus Salad with Champagne-Saffron Vinaigrette

This salad was the eighth course on the Titanic's last dinner. Our recipe makes six servings.

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, rinsed
Boiling salted water
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon boiling water
1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
Pinch of sugar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 sweet red or yellow pepper, diced
Leaf lettuce

1. Holding the asparagus halfway up the stalk, snap off the woody ends at a natural breaking point and discard.
2. In a wide, deep skillet or large pot of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus spears 3-5 minutes or until they are tender but not limp.
3. Drain and run spears under cold water until completely cooled. Drain well and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, stir the saffron into the teaspoon of boiling water. Let it stand for 2 minutes or until it is softened.
5. Stir in the champagne vinegar, mustard and sugar. Whisk in the olive oil. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Add the asparagus and diced pepper; toss gently to coat with the vinaigrette.
7. Line a platter with lettuce leaves and arrange the asparagus mixture on top.

Calvados-Glazed Roast Duckling with Applesauce

This delectable entree was the fifth course on the Titanic's final dinner. Our applesauce recipe makes two servings, with 1/2 cup applesauce per serving.

1 duckling (about 4 pounds)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 shallots, peeled, ends removed, halved
1 small tart apple, washed, cored, quartered
1/2 cup chicken stock or reduced-sodium canned chicken broth
1/2 cup calvados or apple cider
1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 small shallots, peeled, ends removed, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 tart apples, peeled, cored, chopped

To make duck:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Remove the giblets and neck from the duck; rinse and pat it dry inside and out. Trim the excess fat from both ends of the cavity.
3. In a small bowl, combine the thyme, salt and pepper. Rub the thyme mixture over the entire duck, inside and out.
4. Place the shallot halves and apple quarters inside the cavity. Using poultry pins or a basting needle, truss the cavity closed. Twist wing tips behind back.
5. Place the duck, breast side up, on a rack in a large metal roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Shield the breast with foil, then reduce the oven temperature to 350. Bake for 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers 180 when inserted into the leg.
6. Remove the duck from the oven (keep the oven set at 350 degrees) and place it on a heated platter or keep it loosely covered with foil to keep it warm.
7.Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium-high heat; skim off and discard fat.
8. Stir in the chicken stock and calvados or apple cider. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring to scrape up any brown bits. Boil for 5 minutes or until mixture is reduced to about 1/2 cup.
9. Stir in the brown sugar and continue to cook 3-5 minutes or until mixture is slightly syrupy. Pour into a heat-proof bowl.
10. Return the duck to the roasting pan. Remove the foil and brush the duck with half of the glaze. Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes.
11. Brush the duck with remaining glaze and roast for 20 minutes longer.
12. Increase the oven temperature to 475 degrees and roast for 5 minutes or until skin is well browned and crisp.
13. Remove to a heated platter. Tent with foil and let the duck rest 15-20 minutes before carving.

To make applesauce:
1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute 5 minutes or until they are softened.
2. Sprinkle the sugar over the shallots and continue sauteing them, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until shallots are well browned and very soft.
3. Stir in the cider vinegar and apples. Reduce heat slightly. Cover and cook 7-8 minutes or until apples are tender.
4. Mash mixture until smooth and serve with duck.

Punch Romaine

This drink was the sixth course of the Titanic's final dinner, and was served immediately after the main course. What followed was roasted squab, asparagus salad, foie gras, and dessert. Our recipe makes eight servings, about 1 cup per serving without rum. As a note, the simple syrup can be stored in a sterilized container in the refrigerator for up to one month.

6 cups crushed ice
1 cup simple syrup (see recipe below)
2 cups champagne or sparkling wine
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Orange peel, slivered, optional

Simple syrup:
2 cups sugar
1 cup water

To make punch:
1. In a blender, combine the crushed ice, simple syrup, champagne, white wine, orange juice and lemon juice. Blend until mixture is well combined.
2. Spoon the mixture into individual dessert cups. Drizzle with rum, if desired, and garnish with a sliver of orange peel. Serve immediately.

To make simple syrup:
1. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently until sugar is completely dissolved.
2. Bring to a boil and cook one minute or until syrup is clear. Remove from the heat and cool. Makes 2 cups.

Tea with the Queen: A Victorian Menu

Henry James wrote, "There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as an afternoon tea." Afternoon tea was invented by Anna Duchess of Bedford (1783-1857), one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting. During this time, the noble classes ate large breakfasts, small lunches and late suppers. Every afternoon, Anna experienced what she referred to as a "sinking feeling," so she requested that her servants bring her tea and petite-sized cakes to her boudoir. Many followed the Duchess' lead, and thus the ritual of afternoon tea was birthed. In fact, a culture of sorts emerged around the tradition of drinking tea. Fine hotels began to offer tea rooms, while tea shops opened for the general public. Tea dances also became popular social events at which Victorian ladies met potential husbands. Our special "Tea With the Queen" menu includes our favorite tea recipes, as well as one recipe for Victorian lemonade, as an alternative to tea.

Tea Sandwiches

Tea sandwiches are traditionally light, delicate sandwiches sliced small enough to be picked up with the fingers or a pair of sandwich tongs. Teas sandwiches can be cut into triangles or, using cookie cutters, shapes for special occasions. White or wheat bread, with the crusts cut off, can be used for these sandwiches. The following recipes are modern interpretations of Victorian tea fare.

Choice of bread, sliced
Seedless cucumber
Canned tuna, drained
Tuna seasoning (your choice)
Cream cheese
Smoked salmon
Eggs, boiled (or egg salad of your choice)
Choice of garnish, if desired

Cucumber Sandwiches:
1. After cutting off the crusts of the bread and cutting the bread into triangles or shapes, butter both sides of the bread.
2. Cut seedless cucumber (sold in gourmet supermarkets, always wrapped in cellophane) into very thin slices, and place between bread slices.
3. Garnish if desired.

Tuna Sandwiches:
1. Mix one can of tuna (drained) with tuna seasoning and enough mayonnaise to make a thick spread.
2. Spread on prepared slices of bread. You may add thin slices of cucumber if desired along with garnish.

Salmon Sandwiches:
1. Spread cream cheese on prepared slices of bread.
2. Place thin slices of smoked salmon (Nova is particularly good) between slices of bread.

Egg Sandwiches:
1. Mix sectioned boiled egg and mayonnaise (or use store bought egg salad) and season as desired.
2. Spread on slices of prepared bread.
3. Add thin slices of cucumber if desired, along with garnish.

Watercress Sandwiches:
1. Spread cream cheese on prepared slices of bread.
2. Rinse and dry watercress and lay between slices of bread.
3. Garnish if desired.

Scones with Lemon Curd and Clotted Cream

Scones are traditionally served with afternoon tea and accompanied by lemon curd and clotted cream. You can add a variety of treats into the batter, such as raisins, fresh apple bits, orange peel, cranberries, and chocolate chips. Lemon Curd is a traditional spread for scones, and is usually served with Devonshire (or clotted) cream. Our lemon curd is rich and smooth, and can be kept refrigerated for up to two weeks. Unfortunately, Americans cannot make clotted cream or Devonshire cream, as we do not have the same breed of cows as in England. Instead of buying an expensive import, ERAS offers a simple recipe for clotted cream, which is perfect for spreading on scones.

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk)
1 lightly beaten egg
2 large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup sour cream

To make scones:
1. Mix baking powder, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt and cut in 6 tablespoons of butter until the mix is crumbly.
2. Pour in the buttermilk until the dough is sticky. Be careful not to overmix. The dough should cling together.
3. Turn out onto a floured surface and shape drop or use a biscuit cutter to form biscuit sized scones. The secret of tender scones is a minimum of handling.
4. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush with egg for a shiny brown scone.
5. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-20 minutes, until light brown.

To make lemon curd:
1. Wisk 1 cup sugar and 2 large eggs in a bowl until blended.
2. Sift in 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice.
3. Pour into a saucepan and cook over low-medium heat stirring constantly for 20 minutes. Do not let the mixture come to a boil (lest it curdle or burn), but allow it to gradually thicken.
4. When the mixture thickly coats the back of a metal spoon, remove pan from heat and stire in 1/4 cup butter until melted.
5. Pour the mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 4 hours. The lemon curd will thicken as it cools.

To make clotted cream:
1. Mix 1 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons Confectioner's sugar using an electric mixer. Whip until stiff peaks form.
2. Gently fold in sour cream and mix until thick.
3. Place in refrigerator and chill until time to serve. If made ahead of time, it will keep in the refrigerator up to 4 hours.

Cherries Jubilee Cake

Many special dishes were created in Queen Victoria's honor during her 64-year reign. Among them was a dessert called Cherries Jubilee, which was invented for Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1897. This Jubilee Cake, which uses Cherries Jubilee as a filling, is a truly fancy dessert in grand Victorian style.

5 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream cheese filling:
8 oz. cream cheese softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cherry jelly
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Cherry filling:
1 quart pitted black cherries
1/2 cup claret
1 cup or less sugar (to taste)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

To make cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Beat the egg whites until they stand up in soft peaks.
3. Beat in the 1/4 cup of sugar a tablespoon at a time.
4. Without washing the beater, beat the egg yolks with the lemon juice until thick and lemon-colored.
5. Gradually beat in the 3/4 cup of sugar.
6. Pour the yolk mixture over beaten egg whites and fold together gently with a spoon or spatula until well blended.
7. Sift the flour and salt together and fold into the egg mixture.
8. Spoon the batter into two unbuttered 9-inch layer pans.
9. Cut through the batter gently several times to break any large air bubbles.
10. Bake about 30 minutes. Test by pressing lightly with a finger. If the cake springs back, it is done.
11. Invert on a wire rack and cool.

To make cream cheese filling:
1. Cream the sugar and cream cheese together.
2. Add remaining ingredients and beat until thick.

To make cherry filling:
1. Dissolve the sugar in the claret and pour over the cherries. Let stand for several hours.
2. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of the cherry juice.
3. Heat the cherries in a sauce pan to the boiling point.
4. Lower heat and stir in cornstarch mixture. Simmer, stirring constantly until thickened.
5. Remove from heat, add spices and lemon juice and allow to cool.

To assemble cake:
1. Place one layer of sponge cake on a cake platter and spread a layer of cream filling about 3 inches wide around the perimeter of the top of the cake.
2. Cut out the center (in a heart shape if you are using heart-shaped pans) of the other layer, leaving a 3-inch border.
3. Put aside the center piece you cut out. Place the layer with the cut-out center on top of the other and press down to make the layers stick together.
4. Decorate by placing a paper doily on top of the cake and sifting confectioners' sugar over the doily.
5. Carefully remove the doily and fill the center of the cake with the cherry filling.

Victorian Kisses

This lovely confection is a forerunner to the modern day variety by Hershey's!

9 eggs
White sugar

1. Beat the whites of nine fresh eggs to a stiff froth.
2. Mix egg white mixture with fifteen spoonfuls of fine white sugar and five or six drops of essence of lemon.
3. Drop mixture on paper with a teaspoon, sift sugar over them, and bake them in a slow oven.

Plum Puffs

Here is a recipe for "Plum Puffs" from the Anne of Green Gables Treasury by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christina Wyss Eriksson (Viking Press, 1991). This recipe yields 2 to 3 dozen puffs.

1/2 cup water
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. granulated sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 cup plum jam (or any other fruit jam)
1/2 cup cream cheese OR whipped cream
Sifted Icing Sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a baking sheet lightly.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the water and butter until boiling. When the butter has melted, turn the heat to low, add the flour and sugar all at once and mix them in thoroughly (a wooden spoon seems to work best for this). Continue to beat the mixture over low heat until it leaves the sides of the pan, about 1 minute.
3. Remove the pan from the heat. Add one egg and beat the mixture until it is smooth. Add the second egg and beat again until smooth.
4. Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart; they should be about 1 inch around. (The puffs will double in size as they bake.) Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
5. Take the puffs out of the oven and turn the heat off. Close the oven door. With a toothpick or thin skewer, poke a tiny hole or two in each puff to let the steam out. Return the puffs to the turned-off but warm oven for about 5 more minutes to ensure that the insides are done. Remove the puffs from the oven and cool them on a rack.
6. When cool, gently split the puffs in half and fill each one with a spoonful of jam and a dab of cream cheese or whipped cream. When all the puffs are filled, arrange them on a platter and sift icing sugar over the top.

Victorian Lavender Lemonade

During the Victorian era, drinking lemonade on one's porch was a popular pasttime in the summers. A "ladies-only" light luncheon may also have been served. Below is our simple recipe for lavender lemonade, a drink enjoyed during the 19th century. Consider serving your lemonade in an antique style, glass footed pitcher and tumblers. Victorians believed the violet-hued glass preserved good tidings within their homes. Below is our easy recipe for this refreshing beverage, perfect for your Victorian picnic.

5 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
12 stems of fresh lavender
2 1/4 cups lemon juice

1. Boil 2 1/2 cups of water with the sugar.
2. Add the lavender stems and remove from heat.
3. Place on the lid and let cool.
4. When cool, add 2 1/2 cups of water and the lemon juice.
5. Strain out the lavender.
6. Serve the lavender lemonade with crushed ice and garnish with lavender blossoms.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Victorian Hairstyles

During the Victorian era, having one's hair styled by a hairdresser became popular. French hairstyles that were parted in the middle became trendy, while adorning one's head with flowers also gained stead. Austrian empress Elizabeth was the first to place flowers in her hair, and she soon started a widespread trend. "Barley curls" or "sugar curls" were long drop curls worn by children throughout the century. In the early 1840's, women took to wearing these curls alongside a coiled chignon, which was situated at the back of the head. Women continued to wear hats during this era. Fine milliners created fanciful styles decorated with plumes and ribbons. During the 1870s, the hair at the back of the head was occasionally allowed to hang loose, long and full, a lovely natural look that was featured in many pre-Raphaelite portraits. Sometimes the hair was seen in ringlets, and sometimes in large loops. In 1872, an important invention in hairstyling was invented: crimping. Crimping allowed for a "turned up hairstyle" in which the hair was pulled over a hot iron, resulting in an attractive wave. The "Marcel wave" was a new style created by the hot iron, and consisted of loose waves arranged around the head. By the end of the 1880s, pompadours were worn. This was a style in which the hair was swept up high from the forehead. Often, fake hair pieces were used to add height and depth. In addition, the "titus" hairstyle became popular from the 1880s. This hairstyle involved cutting the hair very close around the head. The hair was then curled, and styled with various ornaments including flowers. By the "Gay Nineties", high hairstyles had almost disappeared from the landscape of fashion trends. The look of the "Gibson Girl" was much more natural. A bun swept loosely on the head became the crowning feature of young Victorian girls. The "psyche knot" was especially prominent. This was basically hair pulled back from the forehead and knotted on the top of the head. Small coiffures, pompadours, and French twists were also worn, along with hair ornaments.

To create a Victorian hairstyle, try a natural, long style. Begin by curling your hair in natural waves, either with a curling iron or by setting your hair in curlers the evening before. Pull your front strands to the lower back of your head and fasten with a pin.

Edwardian Hairstyles

During the Edwardian era, hairstyles were often full and somewhat "poufy." Ladies who had the luxury of a maid or attendant could achieve this look. The maid would wind her hair around balls of padding, which were called "rats." This sort of hairstyle was often accompanied by large Edwardian hats which were kept in place by jewelled hatpins and decorated with elaborate trimmings like ostrich feathers. Another important invention in hairstyling was made: permanent curling. Women could now have curly hair that would hold for months. The "Roaring Twenties" saw the emergence of a drastic new style: the Flapper style. Women wore their hair shockingly short in a bob haircut. As fashions tended away from the corsets and formality of the earlier era, so hairstyles followed this trend towards a more natural look. As the Edwardian era ended, new technology in movies made trends in hairstyles much more accessible to the general public. As such, actresses such as Clara Bow, who sported an early flapper cut, and singer Josephine Baker, whose exotic looks were closely watched and mimicked, brought their signature hairstyles into mainstream culture.

To create an authentic late Edwardian look, try a Flapper bob. Keep your hair bouncy and natural by avoiding heavy gels, mousses or styling aids. Or slick back your hair with hair gel for a more formal, bold look. If your hair is long, apply gel, pull the hair back and twist it into a bun. Pin the bun at the base of your neck. Place a glittery headband on your head, adjusting for comfort. Insert a feather into the left side of the headband, securing the feather with hairpins.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to host a Harvest Party

As an alternative to Halloween traditions derived from pagan practices, many churches and civic organizations hold alternative festivities in celebration of the fall harvest season. Consider hosting a Victorian-themed Autumn ball, an old-fashioned hayride and barn dance, or a children's party featuring autumn games such as three-legged potato sack races. The following is a list of suggestions to make a historical harvest party a memorable occasion. Many ideas would tie in nicely with a colonial Thanksgiving event too.

Hold a period costume contest for children and/or adults to come dressed in their favorite Bible character, historical figure, or literary character. For example, ask guests to come dressed as famous characters who lived during a particular era in period-appropriate garb. Serve historically accurate treats and teach your guests either a traditional dance or game. Award guests wearing the most creative, most accurate, or most elaborate costume with a special box of candies or sweets.

Consider a party theme centered around the intended meaning of All Hallows Eve: Christian saints, martyrs and other historical men and women of faith. It was on October 31, 1517 that young Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church and lit the fire of the Protestant Reformation. Give each guest a pre-assigned name of a Christian figure such as Luther. Ask your guests ahead of time to come dressed in the appropriate period clothing for their character, and be ready to share with the other guests an interesting story from that character's life. Or consider involving your guests in a Bible trivia or charades game designed to keep them guessing at the identities of famous Christian figures.

If the location allows for it, host an old-fashioned bonfire singalong. Ask your guests to share favorite memories of autumns past and thankful sentiments for the physical and spiritual harvest that they have experienced in the preceding year. (There are a number of traditional hymns as well as contemporary worship choruses which incorporate the theme of light or fire that may be appropriate for the occasion, e.g., "Light the Fire," "Let the Flame Burn Brighter," "This Little Light of Mine" and "Pass It On").

Host an old-time baking or candy-making party. Set up stations for your guests to rotate and make different old-fashioned treats. Prepare ingredients and recipe cards ahead of time, so that the actual amount of "work" is minimal and guests are able to savor their finished creations. Consider making sweets that were popular at the turn of the century, including petit fours, molasses cake, and plum pudding, and asking guests to come dressed in casual, at-home fashions popular during the Edwardian era.

Host a colonial pumpkin party. Ask guests to come dressed in Pilgrim or 18th century garb. Begin with a brief introduction of the history of the pumpkin (which dates back many centuries and was enjoyed by people in Shakespeare's time as well as the early American colonists, and is figured prominently in several well-known works of literature including The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Cinderella). Rather than carving jack-o-lanterns, have guests learn how to make from scratch old-fashioned pumpkin pie, Victorian pumpkin muffins, pumpkin butter, roasted pumpkin seeds, or pumpkin apple soup! Or consider making a unique pumpkin treat enjoyed during the 18th century: Colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey, and then baked the pumpkin in hot ashes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How to Host a Tea Party

Afternoon tea is a wonderful ritual that brings beauty and grace into the life of your family and friends. There is something uniquely gracious about the etiquette and manners we bring to afternoon tea that recaptures the romance of past ages. Henry James wrote, "There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as an afternoon tea." Afternoon tea was invented by Anna Duchess of Bedford (1783-1857), one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting. Anna was quite fond of taking tea and petite-sized cakes in her boudoir during the late afternoon hours. Many followed the Duchess' lead, and thus the ritual of afternoon tea was birthed. In fact, a culture of sorts emerged around the tradition of drinking tea. Fine hotels began to offer tea rooms, while tea shops opened for the general public. Tea dances also became popular social events at which Victorian ladies met potential husbands. A Victorian tea party also provides the perfect opportunity to fellowship with other ladies or get to know some of your neighbors. A regular afternoon tea makes a relaxed context for a ladies Bible study, prayer group or neighborhood book club. Even young girls can be included in tea time. And lest you think that you need to buy fancy china and learn all of the proper tea etiquette, it is more important to extend a hand of friendship and open your heart and home to others.

Begin by drawing up a list of ladies that you would like to invite over to your home. Consider centering your tea around a special theme. For example, throw a special "Tea at Pemberley" to discuss your reading of Jane Austen's works, or "An Afternoon with Elizabeth Gaskell" as a precursor to watching an installment of the miniseries, "Wives and Daughters." Whether you choose a theme or not, you can set a pretty table using your finest china and silver (or any variation of dinnerware). Gather or purchase a few fresh flowers to put in a vase, or use a silk arrangement for a lovely centerpiece. Then prepare your tea! You can either brew a pot of tea and use a strainer to fill each teacup. Or fill a stainless steel infuser with loose tea and allow the flavor to seep in each teacup. Or, you can always use teabags, the simplest of all methods! Provide a selection of teabags in a nice crystal container and let your guests choose their own teas. And it is always thoughtful to include herbal teas for those guests who do not care for caffeine.

Many hostesses like to offer a motley collection of teacups for each guest to choose from. Consider mixing and matching teacups and saucers for a delightful, whimsical effect. This is a charming (and inexpensive) alternative to purchasing a full set of fine china. Bargain department stores such as T.J. Maxx and Marshall's often offer mismatched fine china from your favorite makers such as Royal Doulton, and it can be a fun shopping experience to browse through their unlikely collections! Don't forget to set out a few pretty plates for your bite-sized tea time treats! Stack your dessert plates atop pretty charger plates or even plain white Corelle plates... and your tabletop immediately takes on a formal, elegant look! You can also mix and match linens, giving each guest a different placemat, with matching cloth napkins.

What should you serve for your tea party? For a traditional English tea, staples include scones with clotted cream and lemon curd and an assortment of tea sandwiches (watercress, tuna, etc.) If you are interested in an Asian tea, serve Cantonese Dim Sum delicacies such as bite-sized dumplings and pastries. But you don't have to be limited to traditional tea fare. Some freshly baked cookies will always do, as well as store-bought cupcakes if you don't have the time to bake! Whatever you serve, remember that truly, the best part of afternoon tea is the fellowship and conversation. As you let time catch up with your heart, you can share your life with others and they can share their lives with you. Afternoon tea is a great context for prayer, testimony, and even confession! The old phrase, "Tea and sympathy" really is a good idea for today's busy world.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Art of Papercutting

The Art of Papercutting


Parchment paper Backing paper Small bladed scissors with sharp points

X-ACTO knife or multi-purpose snap-off blade cutters Large pin to prick holes through paper

Clear drying glue to paste parchment to backing Hard surface for cutting when using knife or cutter

1. Making a pattern

a. Decide on a design for your project. Start out with simple designs.

b. Trace it unto the parchment paper.

2. Cutting the design-

a. For symmetrical designs, the parchment paper is folded along the center fold line and both layers are cut at the same time. For designs that are only partially symmetrical, fold and cut symmetrical portions, then unfold and cut unsymmetrical portions last of all. To prevent the paper from shifting while you are cutting out the design, secure it by placing several small pieces of masking tape around the open sides.

b. Cut out the central part of the design first, starting with the most intricate details. Scherenschnitte crafters differ in opinion about which they prefer - the scissors or X-ACTO knife/blade cutters, so try out both and discover which you are more comfortable with for the various parts of the design. If you prefer the scissors, start by holding the scissors underneath the central part of the design, punch a tiny hole through the area to be cut out, to insert blade. Cut out the space, feeding paper into the scissors and keeping the scissors moving in a steady rhythm with small cuts.

c. If you use the X-ACTO knife/blade cutter, you may want to practice first on folded scraps of similar paper. Practice cutting curves as well as corners (for a clean corner, make a slight overcut where the two cutting lines meet). For folded designs, you'll also have to make sure that you are putting enough pressure to cut through the two layers.

d. Cut slowly and carefully, keeping the image of the design in mind; rest your eyes frequently by looking away at the horizon. Continue cutting out spaces, working towards the edge. Cut the outer edges of the design last of all, using the scissors.

e. As you work, you may find it helpful to enclose the cutout portion with a "sleeve" (two pieces of paper taped together at the edges).

f. If there are dots in the design, prick through the dots with the large pin.

g. Carefully remove the tape, open the cutting (if it is folded) and check for any uncut details.

h. Turn the cutting over so that any design markings which have not been cut out are on the underside.

i. Press flat between the pages of a heavy book until you're ready to antique, color, or mount.

3. Antiquing or coloring (optional) - Your finished cutting is good for mounting as it is but you may also antique or color it if you prefer.

a. For antiquing, brew a strong coffee or tea, let it stand for a few hours and pour into a glass baking dish or plastic container. Dip the cutting in the dish and drain on newspapers topped with paper towels. You may also blot (with a clean rag or paper towel) or paint the cutting with the coffee or tea. You may use several dippings or blottings but make sure to let the cutting dry between applications. Make sure your cutting is completely dry before lettering and mounting.

b. If you are making more than one cutting, make the most of your coffee or tea stain by staining all your cuttings at the same time.

c. You may also color your cutting using watercolor, colored pencil or waterbased markers.

4. Lettering-

a. If you intend to letter your cutting, do so after antiquing or coloring and before mounting the cutting on the backing paper.

b. A favorite saying or meaningful quotation can be added to portions of your papercutting and names, dates and other certificate information can be used to personalize your project. For a new baby, make a papercutting which contains the name, date and time of birth, weight, length and place of birth. For a wedding or anniversary, make one with the couple's names, the date of the marriage and other meaningful information. A simple papercutting, personalized with a name makes a great gift.

c. There are various lettering styles which you can use for your papercutting. Even your own handwriting could be very pleasing. Try using the lettering examples as a guide for your own lettering.

d. First write out your message or other information on graphing or ruled paper, using the lines as a guide to make even letters. Take note of how much space you have in your papercutting and adjust your lettering size or message to fit nicely into the space. Rewrite the message until you are satisfied with the way it looks.

e. Position your message under your cutting and lightly trace the lettering with a pencil unto your cutting. If it is difficult to trace, try taping the two pieces of paper against a sunny window. Make your final adjustments and ink over the pencilled lettering using a fine nibbed calligraphy pen.

5. Mounting and Finishing-

a. Cut the backing paper to size (if you prefer a smaller size than the given).

b. Position your completely cut parchment design on the backing paper before applying any adhesive to it. Make sure that the design markings are on the underside. Holding one side of the cutting firmly with your hand, place tiny dots of glue on the back of the free side of the cutting. Press down on the glued side and repeat for the other side.

c. If your cutting has a center fold, you may position it by putting marks on the center top and bottom of the backing paper and with a ruler, aligning the center fold line with these marks.

6. Framing- If you decide to frame your papercutting, choose a frame with glass to protect the cutting. Many designs fit standard picture frames. You may either leave a border of backing paper if you are using a bigger frame or you may want to cut the backing paper to eliminate the border to fit a smaller frame.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tea Stained Fabrics

You can tea stain patterned fabrics also to give them a vintage look. It is recommended that you use a pan and utensil just for dying. You can usually pick up an older pan, 16 quart works well, at a thrift store or garage sale. I keep an old pan on hand for messy jobs.

Tea Stain Directions
You will need:

Stainless steel 16 quart pot 3 gallons tap water 1 yard cotton or linen fabric

8 ounces loose black tea cheesecloth or muslin and kitchen string

strainer tongs mild detergent

Fill sink with cold water and soak your fabric completely. Bring 3 gallons of water to a boil in your pan. Tie the tea in a square piece of muslin (or cheesecloth) tightly with kitchen string. Add to the boiling water and continue to boil for at least 30 minutes. The longer you boil the darker the dye; so go an hour if you can. Remove the tea bag, and use strainer to grab bits of loose tea if necessary.

Wring out your wet fabric, and add to the pot of tea water. Turn off the heat and allow it to steep for several hours or overnight, stirring occasionally to dye evenly. Remember when checking the color that it seems darker when wet. When the fabric has reached the color you like, rinse it under cold water until the water runs clear, then gently wash with the mild detergent and rinse again. Wring out the fabric and hang or place on an old clean towel to dry.

One caution, if you are using expensive fabric or something that is dear to you, be sure to experiment with something else first! You can also test a swatch of the fabric first before doing the entire piece.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Herbal Pillows

Sinus Headache Pillow

Cut two pieces of material 10 x 4 inches and sew together. Making a bag, leave one end open and stuff your bag with the following ingredients;

Mix together in a bowl;

1/2 cup of flax seeds 1 part crushed spearmint leaf 1 part crushed peppermint leaf
1 part lavender buds 1 part eucalyptus leaf 1 part rosemary leaf

Stuff the bag and sew of the end!

Dream Pillow

Combine the following in a bowl;

1 cup mugwort 1/2 cup rose petals 1/2 cup german chamomile
1/2 cup sweet hops 1/3 cup lavender buds 1/3 cup crushed catnip
1/4 cup peppermint

Mix the ingredients together....make cloth bags from a 5 x 12 inch piece of material....fill the bag with your the top of the bag shut.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Garden Note Cards

You will need:

Watercolor paints blank note cards small brushes

ink pads in medium-value colors such as green, blue, orange, red, purple, and lavender

Leaves with pronounced veins

Select the leaf and make sure it is clean and dry. Press the underside of the leaf onto an ink pad, pressing gently with your fingertips to ink all areas. Lift the leave and check that it is completely covered, repeat if necessary.

Press the inked side of the leaf onto the card with your fingertips, pressing gently. Pressing too hard may cause the leaf or stem to smear the image.

Lift the leaf. Use watercolor paint to fill in the leaf. Mix green with blue and yellow for interest. Let the ink and paint dry!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Victorian Food & Cooking

The Victorian era was a period of extravagant entertaining for the upper middle and high classes. Victorian meals consisted of as many as nine courses, although many dishes were light and petite-sized. Fine ingredients, such as exotic spices imported from distant countries, were used in lavishly prepared meals. Culinary schools were established for the first time in history, while popular recipe books by chefs such as Agnes B. Marshall and Isabella Beeton became all the rage in England. Detailed measurements and instructions were written down for the first time during this era. New kitchen gadgets such as the can-opener and Ball-Mason jars were introducted. In addition, Victorians began adopting a host of manners and customs surrounding mealtime, in accordance with Beeton's maxim: "A place for everything and everything in its place." Through her widely-read recipe books, Beeton also popularized such phrases as "Dine we must and we may as well dine elegantly as well as wholesomely."

The institution of afternoon tea became highly popular during the Victorian era. Afternoon tea was invented by Anna Duchess of Bedford (1783-1857), one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting. During this time, the noble classes ate large breakfasts, small lunches and late suppers. Every afternoon, Anna reportedly experienced what she referred to as a "sinking feeling," so she requested that her servants bring her tea and petite-sized cakes to her boudoir. Many followed the Duchess' lead, and thus the ritual of afternoon tea was birthed. In fact, a culture of sorts emerged around the tradition of drinking tea. Fine hotels began to offer tea rooms, while tea shops opened for the general public. Tea dances also became popular social events at which Victorian ladies met potential husbands.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Victorian Era Fashion

During the Victorian era, the precise cut, material and color of a garment revealed the social class of the wearer. With the growing prosperity of the day, fashions for women of the higher classes became increasingly complex. Dresses were composed of several layers of different shades, cloths and trimmings, and intended to be worn with both under-dresses and over-dresses. Properly dressed ladies accessorized with gloves and bonnets. Bustlines rose, as Victorian modesty gained widespread adherence; and waistlines fell as designers revived the popularity of formal dresses reminiscent of Georgian France. In the first quarter-century, puffy "mutton-leg" sleeves became all the rage, but these were later replaced by fitted sleeves and eventually bell sleeves. Victorians considered the "hourglass" shape to best flatter the female form, and women wore restrictive corsets to achieve this ideal. The Victorian era also saw the progression from crinoline skirts to hoop skirts and finally to bustled skirts. Finally, the invention of sewing machine revolutionized women's fashion on a practical level, as ladies devoted themselves to designing, customizing and making their own garments.

As for accessories of this era, the cameo became all the rage of the mid-19th century. Although Queen Elizabeth was known to favor cameos to complement her garments and Catherine the Great had an impressive collection as well, Queen Victoria revived the jewelry piece during her reign. Cameos during the Victorian era were often attached to a black velvet ribbon and worn as a choker. Jewelers during the nineteenth century used gemstones, stone, shell, lava, coral and manmade materials as mediums to carve cameos. Shell had been used by Italian carvers since 1805, and by the Victorian era, was the favorite material of cameo designers. Popular subjects for cameos included depictions of deities from Greek mythology (especially the Three Graces, the daughters of Zeus), the Biblical Rebecca at the well, and the Bacchante maidens adorned with grape leaves in their hair. The Victorians' appreciation for naturalism, especially their love of gardening, was also captured in cameos featuring flowers and trees. Finally, the Victorian woman of means often commissioned a cameo in her likeness, while other artists depicted an idealized woman with an upswept hairstyle and Romanesque features.

Men's fashions of the era were comparably more comfortable for the wearer. It was considered impolite society for a gentleman to appear in his shirt sleeves before a lady other than his wife, so Victorian men nearly always wore wore an informal "sack coat" during the day. The sack coat was a loose-fitting, single-breasted garment appropriate for travel or business, which was distinctive for its small collar, short lapels, a fastened top button close to the neck, moderately rounded hems, flap or welt pockets on the hips, a welt pocket on the chest and a slightly baggy appearance. Men's formal attire consisted of a top hat, dapper cutaway coat or frockcoat, waistcoat, cravat and trousers.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Victorian Science & Technology

The Victorian era ushered in a tremendous surge of technological invention. Victorians believed in progress and viewed with optimism their Industrial Revolution. Steamboats allowed America to engage in transportation and trade as never before, while railroads connected the nation from north to south and east to west. During this period, the ingenious and prolific Thomas Edison developed the first electric light bulb and phonograph, and improved numerous inventions such as the telegraph, telephone, and motion picture projector. In 1852, Elisha Graves Otis invented the world's first safety elevator that would accompany the new skyscrapers of the day. During the 1890s, Henry Ford devoted himself to designing an internal combustion engine and developing an automobile capable of being mass-produced. At the same time, Victorians were introduced to the bicycle, a symbol of freedom that both men and women enjoyed. Other inventions of the era include Isaac Singer's lockstitch sewing machine; John Hyatt's celluloid, a substance that was used in Victorian shirt collars; John Roebling's steel cable, which as used to construct the Brooklyn Bridge; and Cyrus McCormick's mechanical reaper that made America a world-class wheat producer.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Attractions & Points of Interest in Pittsboro

A small town that is big on culture – that’s Pittsboro! From historic landmarks and museums to art exhibits, concerts, stage productions and outdoor festivals, residents can enjoy a little savior faire right here in a town known for its uniqueness and hospitality.

Carolina Tiger Rescue
Carolina Tiger Rescue, formerly the Carnivore Preservation Trust, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit wildlife sanctuary whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild. For more information:

Chatham Historical Museum
Exhibits in the museum include artifacts from the museum’s permanent collection and topical displays that change three to four times a year. In the conference room next to the museum, one display illustrates the early settlement and formation of Chatham County and a second traces the history of the county courthouse. For more information:

Pittsboro Historic District
Roughly bounded by Chatham St., Small St., Rectory St., and Launis St., Pittsboro: 590 acres, 131 buildings, 1 object. Historic significance: Architecture/Engineering. Architectural style: Early Commercial, Queen Anne. Area of significance: Community Planning and Development, Architecture.

Fearrington Village & Gardens
Eight miles south of Chapel Hill resides Fearrington Village, a bustling village of shops, restaurants and homes tucked away on farm land dating to the 1700s. Farm pastures, home to Fearringtons famous Belted Galloway Cows and Tennessee Fainting Goats, surround the village center which offers a collection of high quality shops and dining options. You will find an independent bookstore, plant nursery, home and garden shop, flower & gift shop, restaurants and a deli. The Old Granary is a full-service restaurant that serves lunch and brunch; The Belted Goat, serves sandwiches, salads, coffee, wine and ice cream; and The Fearrington House is North Carolinas only AAA Five Diamond Restaurant. The gardens at Fearrington Village are open to visitors seven days a week, year round and include: the fragrant white garden; the Dovecote garden, site of many weddings; the Herb garden, which is utilized by the award-winning Fearrington House restaurant; and the Inn's English courtyard and knot garden. Formal tours are conducted by our horticulturalist and can be arranged through the Potting Shed. The inn offers guests a delightful overnight experience with a full gourmet breakfast and traditional English afternoon tea included in the rate. Fearrington Village is open daily to the public. Visitors are welcome to explore our gardens, check out our curiously striped cows and goats, and browse our collection of charming stores.

Rosemary House
A 1912 Colonial Revival home in the heart of Pittsboro, Rosemary House B&B offers five comfortable guest rooms with private baths, telephones, cable TV/VCR, ceiling fan, fireplaces and two-person whirlpools, and a full gourmet breakfast. Relax and rejuvenate in a comfortable historic home convenient to the Triangle's many attractions.

The Woodwright's School
You’ll be doing early Anglo-American style joinery with English-style tools. That’s what this school is about - early music played on the original instruments. Many people like to work with Japanese tools these days, but we will not be using them in this class. As one respected teacher put it, “That would be like stir-frying grits.” For more information:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What is Neo-Victorian?

Neo-Victorian is an aesthetic movement which amalgamates Victorian and Edwardian aesthetic sensibilities with modern principles and technologies. A large number of magazines and websites are devoted to Neo-Victorian ideas in dress, family life, interior decoration, morals, and other topics.

Examples of crafts made in this style would include push-button cordless telephones made to look like antique wall-mounted phones, CD players resembling old time radios, Victorianesque furniture, and Victorian era-style clothing.

In neo-romantic and fantasy art one can often see the elements of Victorian aesthetic values. There is also a strongly emerging genre of steampunk art. McDermott & McGough are a couple of contemporary artists whose work is all about a recreation of life in the nineteenth century: they only use the ultimate technology available, and since they are supposed to live anachronically, this means the use of earlier photographic processes, and maintaining the illusion of a life stuck in the ways of a forgotten era.

Many who have adopted Neo-Victorian style have also adopted Victorian behavioral affectations, seeking to imitate standards of Victorian conduct, pronunciation, interpersonal interaction. Some even go so far as to embrace certain Victorian habits such as shaving with straight razors, riding penny farthings, exchanging calling cards, and using fountain pens to write letters in florid prose sealed by wax.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pittsboro By Gaslight...

Take a turn about downtown Pittsboro and you will find many businesses in the downtown area boasting a feel that is markedly ‘Steampunk/Neo-Victorian’, a new cultural movement in which people admire elements of bygone Victorian times and combine them with technology and art in exciting new ways.

S&T Soda Shoppe, General Store Cafe, Davenport & Winkleperry and The City Tap all boast a cozy atmosphere in which dapperly dressed ladies and gentleman can find refreshment and entertainment. Also, Chatham Mill hosts a variety of sights and events that would be of interest to the local Steampunk scene.

We are looking at planning our first event in the fall of 2010. There will be numerous (perhaps humorous) activities to experience throughout the day. Appropriate attire is encouraged.

The Art of Wax Seals

Wax seals have been used for centuries. Long before adhesive envelopes were invented, wax seals were used to prevent a letter from being tampered with or opened by unwelcome, prying individuals. They were also used to convey authority and identity, as seals were often stamped with initials, symbols from a family crest, or other unique identifying marks. (Think Scarlet Pimpernel...) Today, wax seals convey an inexplicable sense of romance, mystery and elegance. In certain states and commonwealths, there are still legal requirements on the books that obligate certain official documents to be sealed, rather than embossed. Documents are wrapped with flat red binding tape and sealed before witnesses, some of whom then apply 'seals' or signature rings to the warm wax so any tampering will be immediately evident. And while the United States Postal Service doesn't always like to deliver sealed mail, the federal law requires that they do so.

Today, there are many different colors available for sealing wax. In the Middle Ages, the sealing material was initially pure beeswax, ranging in color from almost white to yellow to brown. During the 11th century, pigments were added, e.g., red, green, yellow, black. In addition, manufacturers began to experiment with adding various resins in order to make the wax harder and the images to appear sharper. Unfortunately, this resulted also in rendering the seal impressions more brittle. The composition of the sealing wax changed over the centuries and from country to country. For example, in 19th century England the material for royal seals was almost pure shellac. The color used denoted the substance of the letter's contents or the relationship between the sender and recipient. For instance, letters of mourning were sealed with black wax, while letters of business used red wax. In addition, the sizes of seals varied throughout the years. The general tendency for seals of royalty or nobility was a steady growth through the centuries. Sigebert III, a monarch had a seal designed for him in the year 638 that was barely 1 centimeter (3/8 inch) in diameter. Russian czar Alexander II had an enormous seal designed in 1856 that measured 26 centimeters (over 10 inches). City seals in many European countries were often very large. Most seals of the 13th and 14th centuries were approximately 9 centimeters (3 1/2 inches) in diameter, but these official seals became smaller throughout the centuries.

Learning to use wax seals is very easy. First, clear a workspace for yourself where you can lay out paper, a candle, your wax sticks, seal, and any ribbons you would like to use. Then, holding the pointed end of your wax stick to candlelight, warm your wax stick until it is softened and begins to drip. Drip a generous portion of the wax over your envelope or letter, where you want to seal. If you are using ribbon, place two short strips of cut ribbon on envelope before dripping wax. Drip on ribbon and envelope. Using your seal, press firmly on soft wax. Clean seal properly when finished.

Friday, May 21, 2010

How to make your own Victorian Centerpiece

Every table can become an eye-catching display when adorned with a beautiful Victorian centerpiece. You can use a tall candelabra or compote for this arrangement. The following project uses winter flowers and greenery intended for a Christmas centerpiece, but you can use different flowers depending on the season.

Silk or fresh flowers such as red roses
Florist's clay
Ivy (or other greenery)
Gold spray paint

1. Begin by spraying gold paint over paint twigs and pine cones in a well-ventilated area (preferably outdoors). Let dry.
2. Cut florist clay to fit the size of your bowl. If you are using a candelabra that does not have a bowl for a floral arrangement built in, use a florist bowl. If you are using a compote or a candelabra with a place for centerpiece, then your arrangement will go directly in the compote or center.
3. Place the florist clay inside the bowl. If you are using fresh flowers, you will need to first soak the clay in water, and also add water to the bowl.
4. Cut ivy or greenery to size, such that they will drape down the bowl.
5. Stick stems into the florist clay along the outer edge, like a crown.
6. Cut the roses to size and add roses into the centerpiece, beginning with the tallest rose at the top, and working in a circle, like a nosegay.
7. Stick gilded pine cones and twigs in the arrangement as desired.
8. Accent your table with red votive candles, red glass stemware, and a bowl of sparkling red and green ornaments as a display piece.

How to make a Victorian Tussle Mussle

A tussie mussie is a round nosegay bouquet comprised of several varieties of flowers. As such, the tussie mussie conveyed different messages of romantic sentiment when given from a special admirer. They were usually wrapped in a lace doily and tied with a ribbon. Later, silver tussie mussie holders became popular, and Victorian brides often walked down the aisle carrying these elaborate and beautiful bouquets. To make your own tussie mussie, you can choose fresh or silk flowers. Consider creating a fresh arrangement as a centerpiece for your next dinner party, or a silk arrangement to brighten up your home for the summer. You can make a random arrangement of flowers, as shown in the picture below, or a more formal arrangement. For a random arrangement, you can exercise your artistic creativity and place flowers in any fashion that pleases you aesthetically. Let your personal imagination run wild! The instructions below are for a formal nosegay arrangement.

A large rose or cluster of roses
1-2 varieties of smaller "filler flowers" like Baby's breath, pansies or hydrangeas
Large, leafy stems such as violet leaves, or lamb's ears
Florist tape (or hot glue if you are using silk flowers)
Paper or cloth lace doily
Colorful ribbons

1. Trim down extra leaves from your flowers so you have a clean stem to work with.
2. Begin by holding your large rose or cluster of roses. This will be the center of your bouquet and you will work around it.
3. Add your filler flowers around the rose(s), making a full circle around the center.
4. Repeat the process for your next layer of filler flowers.
5. Wrap large leaves around the arrangement, making sure not they are low enough just to frame the flowers.
6. At this point, wrap floral tape around the arrangement. If you are using silk flowers, you can hot glue the arrangement together and let it dry.
7. Wrap your lace or paper doily around the entire arrangement and tie with colorful ribbons.
8. You can also include a Victorian charm or some pretty faux pearl sprays in the arrangement.

The Victorian Art & Language of Flower Arranging

In the time-travel romantic comedy, "Kate & Leopold" (2001), Hugh Jackman's character, a Victorian duke, pays particular attention to the type of flowers to choose for a lady, and admonishes a young friend who casually picks out a bouquet at a flower store for his date. Similarly, in the BBC miniseries, "Wives and Daughters" (1999), hopeful lover Roger Hamley asks Molly Gibson to choose a flower from a bouquet he gathered for her, as a pledge to him. Molly's choice of a red rose for Roger ultimately signifies something more than a random choice based on fragrance or appearance. The Victorians were familiar with various meanings that were associated to different flowers, such that a bouquet often conveyed an understood meaning to the recipient. For example, ivy conveyed fidelity, and was therefore a popular filler for a bride's bouquet. Sometimes a specific colors of a specific flower had different meanings as well. A red rose meant love, while a yellow rose friendship. A gentleman who gave a red rose to a young lady had to be certain that the sentiment was appropriate at their stage of the relationship. A tussie mussie, or hand-held bouquet, was often a careful, deliberate gift during the Victorian age. The giver spent much time not only choosing the flowers, but putting together an arrangement that would convey a hidden message. Below is a list of flowers and herbs, along with their Victorian meanings. And keep reading for instructions on how to make your own Victorian tussie mussie or holiday centerpiece.

Almond flowers -- Hope
Anemone -- Forsaken
Balm -- Sympathy
Basil -- Best wishes
Bay leaf -- "I change but in death"
Bell flower, white -- Gratitude
Bergamot -- Irresistible
Bluebell -- Constancy
Borage -- Courage
Broom -- Humility
Campanula -- Gratitude
Carnation, red -- "Alas for my poor heart"
China rose -- Beauty always new
Chrysanthemum -- Love
Clover, four leaved -- "Be mine"
Convolvulus, major -- Extinguished hopes or eternal sleep
Coreopsis, arkansa -- Love at first sight
Cuckoo pint -- Ardour
Daffodil -- Regard
Daisy -- Innocence, new-born, "I share your sentiment"
Fennel -- Flattery
Fern -- Sincerity
Forget-Me-Not -- True love
Furze or Gorse -- Enduring affection
French Marigold -- Jealousy
Gardenia -- Ecstasy
Gentian -- Loveliness
Geranium -- "You are childish"
Hare bell -- Grief
Heartsease -- "I am always thinking of you"
Honeysuckle -- Bonds of love
Heather -- Admiration
Ice Plant -- "Your appearance freezes me"
Ivy -- Fidelity, friendship, marriage
Jasmine -- Grace
Jonquil -- "I hope for return of affection"
Lavender -- Luck, devotion
Lemon Balm -- Sympathy
Lily -- Purity, modesty
Lily of the Valley -- Purity, the return of happiness
Marigold -- Health, grief or despair
Marjoram -- Kindness, courtesy
Myrtle -- Fidelity
Oregano -- Joy
Pansy -- Loving thoughts
Periwinkle -- Happy memory
Phlox -- Agreement
Poppy, red -- Consolation
Rose, cabbage -- Ambassador of love
Rose, red -- Love
Rose, pink -- Grace, beauty
Rose, yellow -- Friendship
Rosemary -- Remembrance, constancy
Rue -- Contrition
Sage -- Gratitude, domestic virtue
Snowdrop -- Hope
Star of Bethlehem -- Purity
Sweet Pea -- Departure, tender memory
Sweet William -- Gallantry
Tuberose -- Voluptuousness
Tulip, red -- Reclamation of love
Violet -- Loyalty, modesty, humility
Violet, blue -- Faithfulness
Wormwood -- Grief
Wheat -- Riches of the continuation of life
Willow, weeping -- Mourning
Wallflower -- Fidelity
Yew -- Sorrow

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Historic Pittsboro: July 1939

Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the tragic consequences of the Great Depression and profoundly influenced the development of documentary photography.

With the onset of the Great Depression, Lange turned her camera lens from the studio to the street. Her studies of unemployed and homeless people captured the attention of local photographers and led to her employment with the federal Resettlement Administration (RA), later called the Farm Security Administration (FSA).

During her work with the FSA, Dorothea Lange visited Pittsboro, NC on a Saturday afternoon in July of 1939. She was staying in Chapel Hill, and she would have traveled down highway 15, through the mill town of Bynum, across the Haw River and into Pittsboro from the north. It looks like she took a few shots of the approach to the Chatham County Court House as she came into town. She probably parked along Hillsboro Street when she got out of the car, mixed and mingled with the Saturday afternoon crowd.

Her photographic haul included an arresting shot of locals dressed up and conversing in front of the Poe building on the corner of Hillsboro and West Salisbury. For many years the building housed Edwards Antiques, and now boasts our neighborhood watering hole, the venerable City Tap.