July 9, 2015

Carry Me Back to Old Virginny

Happy July - I hope everyone had a spectacular Independence Day!  

My family and I just returned from Ol' Virginny, as they say, where we spent the last week wining and dining in the presence of family and friends.  The entire extended family (well 40+ of us from NY to CA) flew into Chantilly, VA from all across the nation to celebrate the holiday, being together once again as a family, as well as a very important occasion...my grandmother's (belated six month) birthday!

A window into our past: Manassas National Battlefield Park.  

In sum, we had a marvelous time - chatting and catching up over plentiful food, walking around D.C. (a tradition carried out at least once every family reunion), watching the United States women's team win the World Cup, visiting a winery for the first time...

The view at Cana Vineyards & Winery.

...As well as going someplace new, which was the highlight of the trip, Manassas National Battlefield Park!  I just love visiting Civil War battlefields.  There's something special about stepping onto such hallowed ground, as President Lincoln called it, which gives me goosebumps and a deeper appreciation & direct connection to the past.  Have I mentioned how deeply I love history yet?  Without a doubt, to me, visiting such sites, whether it be a battlefield or historic home, is truly living history (and now I am committed to moving to Virginia when I am older...That state is chock-full of opportunities with six, national Civil War battlefield sites, a plethora of historic homes and plantations, not to mention living history museums like Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, of course!)

The National Park Service did an absolutely wonderful job with the Manassas Battlefield.  About 20 of us spent a good hour or so there (though, I could have spent a day or two!) visiting the historic stone house as well as the Henry Hill Visitor Center.  In fact, we arrived just in time to catch a showing of the Manassas: End of Innocence film, which seamlessly combined several civilian stories along with a clear understanding of the events during both the First and Second Battles of Manassas.

Manassas Battlefield. 

Outside the Historic Stone House

While we were onsite, we had the chance to go inside the Historic Stone House, which is currently set up like a tavern and inn, and speak at length with a very knowledgeable interpreter.  I was even able to bring in a little about the two taverns/inns at work into the conversation, which was very exciting!  

The birthday party itself was also quite the celebration!  In addition to main occasion, July 5th also happened to be one of my aunt's and uncle's 40th anniversary, another one of my cousin's 2nd anniversary, one of my Grandmother's niece's birthdays AND my 19th birthday.  (July 5th is a great day for a birthday in my opinion!)  Three birthdays and two anniversarys - so many reasons to celebrate!

Originally, I was planning to finish and wear my new 1950s sailor dress; however, due to a few major glitches, that plan was ditched and, instead, I wore my Regency sari dress.  (Fondly dubbed the "Samantha dress!")  Unfortunately, these are the only pictures I have from the party at the moment - all thanks to the younger sister for capturing this silliness...

My aunt gave each of the cousins a crazy straw, and, immediately,
I figured out the intended purpose...silliness ensued!

The only picture I have of my hair that day,
which happily included my favorite butterfly comb.

Anyways, getting back to sewing...on the trip, I was able to make a new 1830s cap featuring my first ever rolled whipped gathers (eee!), an 1850s collar (which actually turned out too long for the intended neckline), and worked on more rolled hems.  

Now, with the upcoming Civil War Weekend in Mumford scheduled for two weekends from today, my thoughts are turned to the ever-present sewing list.  I was hoping and planing to finish my puffed sleeved & polka-dotted dress with its accessories by then; however, I am being terribly distracted by the 1820s outfit and more rolled whipped gathers for caps calling my name...C.A.D. strikes again!  So, we shall see what actually gets done in time for the event.

Grabbing a steaming cup of tea and preparing to stitch like crazy.

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