Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Civil War Christmas Tea

This afternoon I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of an elegant afternoon tea at the Patterson Homestead, a living history home and grounds built in 1816 with reenactors representing the 1860s.  I have been starting to volunteer at a few more living history sites in Ohio to add to my experience so I can maybe.... possibly.... hopefully..... one day get an actual full time job as an historical interpreter.

You see, only just recently did I discover that you can do this as a job.  Most reenactors are just hobbyists, but many take that interest to entire new level and become what is called an "historical interpreter", or one who "interprets" life during a certain period while in costume at a living history site.  I think I've finally found my dream job, people.  I have talked to many interpreters recently and learned what type of experience and history studies are required for a job like this.  I'm excited because this is something I could take with me my whole life.  This is what I want to do!  It just took me this long to finally figure it out. :)

Anyway, enough about that, let me show you what I was up to today!

The Patterson Homestead was absolutely gorgeous.  I loved the architecture, the small rooms, beautiful woodwork, rough windows.... and it was all decorated for a perfect Victorian Christmas.

A cheerful wintry wreath greets visitors at the back kitchen door.

Antique lace curtains graced the kitchen windows.

I wore a green and blue calico day dress with an ivory sash and crinoline underneath.  I think the Civil War era is my favorite time period for fashion.  I still have my old hoop skirt in my closet that I haven't worn for years.  I've been doing all this 1880s stuff and forgot how fun it was to walk around like a floating bell shape. :)

*cue the terrible quality selfies*

...and the brooch I wore.  Loved the purple. :)

Once we were dressed and the tables were set, there was some free time until the guests began to arrive.  I took the opportunity to roam around with Darcy and get some pictures.  This was the main dining room where the guests were seated.  Don't the table settings look lovely?

The house was decorated so beautifully... I felt like I had stepped right into Louisa May Alcott's classic.

That tree had some amazing period ornaments.

While the guests were there I was way too busy to take pictures.  The ladies were all dressed up so elegantly and everyone brandished their best etiquette.  To my utter delight, we had five British guests who joined us for the afternoon.  I found myself taking tea to their table more often than others just to linger about and catch snippets of their oh-so-very-British conversation.  Goodness me do they take their tea seriously!  And my what great amounts of it they took!  And lots of milk too! ;)

While we were clearing the plates of cranberry pumpkin scones away, a storm threatened to keep us all at the house.  Which in all reality I would not have minded one bit.  Thankfully it cleared up by the time we all left though.

When all was put back in order we stepped outside for a breath of the outdoors.  The rain sweetened the fall air and cooled us off from working under all those layers.

I didn't want to put an end to the enchanting afternoon, but I am excitedly looking forward to helping with upcoming teas, as well as working at two new living history sites that I just passed volunteer training for.  I promise to post soon about that.

Until then, have a lovely evening!  It is storming pretty bad here... I hope we don't lose power.  That means no electricity.  And that means no internet.

That would be bad.


Aspirer said...

Tea. <3 Makes everything that much better. So glad you enjoyed yourself. :)

♥ aspirer

Rosamund Gregory said...

Isn't that just about the best job one can think of? Oh my goodness, dressing up and teaching while cooking and sewing--eeeps. Have you ever looked at the Sewing Academy? It's an online sewing circle for reenactors with very knowledgable researchers who are willing to help In Every Detail. (I joined it recently, and they'll check your fabrics for accuracy and everything.) If you've heard of The Dressmaker's Guide, the same lady (Elizabeth Stewart Clark) runs it.

Elizabeth Anne said...

I have never heard of the Sewing Academy but I just checked it out.... amazing! Thank you for the reference. I'm currently working on an 1873 polonaise and could use some more insight from experienced costumers. Thank you again so much!

Raechel said...

How fun! And you look beautiful!! What a fun dress to wear :)

Rosamund Gregory said...

Yes, it's really great. '73 is a bit beyond the main purpose (I think it's 40's-60's mainly) but surely someone could help with the accuracy (they're Very Learned) and there's tons of sewing tips. :) But the 70's clothes are so jolly, aren't they?

Clare Asper said...

Wow, that looks ever so delightful! And YOU are beautiful!

Vicki said...

Sounds like an absolutely lovely way to spend a day. (: Your dress is beautiful!

decked out in ruffles

Grace said...

You look lovely! And the house is amazing; goodness me, what a job. :)

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