September 18, 2016

Summer Highlights: Joie de Vivre!

"I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy.  Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun." ~ Charles R. Swindoll

(Photograph courtesy of Hannah W.)

Oh the joy of living!  Is it just me, or did the summer pass by too quickly?  It seems like summer just started...there were so many things that I had to do, wanted to do, did do and still hope to do...I may not have met all of my summer blogging goals; but regardless of the frequency of updates, or lack thereof, it is of the utmost personal importance to find pleasure in the work before and company that surrounds me.  With that said, allow me to present a small slice of my summer - oh the joys of living, working and general shenanigans!

Fun with shadows!
(Photograph by Judy J.)

By now it should come as no surprise, my job as a historical interpreter at the Genesee Country Village & Musuem was my number one priority.  Whether I was talking with visitors, reading or sewing - at home or onsite - the goal was to improve my interpretation.  There were ups and downs, days that I just couldn't get enough of living history and days that all I wanted was a vacation.  In fact, sometimes I regret not taking some time off.  I barely spent time with the family or exploring other whims and passions.  But, it's okay, I tell myself - there is plenty of time, plenty of other opportunities for that.  All I know for sure is that I won't ever regret the time that I spent with my friends, they really made the summer!

July - In three words?  Hot.  Busy.  Laughs!

Strolling through the Livingston Gardens,
my favorite of the historic gardens in the village.

The month opened with a surprise tea party in the Livingston Garden House (one of my most favorite overlooked locations of the village), and the best birthday that I have ever had thanks to Judy, Hannah, Katie, Richard and practically our entire team of historical interpreters...where Judy's "special" brownies became the running joke:

Tea party in the Livingston Garden House

Judy in the Livingston Gardens.

That afternoon, my good friend and neighbor at the MacKay Homestead every Wednesday, Hannah, graciously played photographer and treated me to a yummy dinner and dancing:

The always graceful Hannah.

Judy and I had been wanting to have pictures taken together in our green dresses! 

From smiling interpreters... serious Victorians.

For Civil War Weekend this year, I had the chance to stay with Katie at Hetchler, the pioneer cabin.  It was really neat!  Both days, a small group of us civilians played refugees, fleeing across the village green before the battle.  Katie carried a live Rooster, named Buddy, which was a big hit!  The only pictures I took, however, were of hair styling before the ball: 

Katie & Ava in their lovely summer sheers!

Rolls, braids & ornamental boxwood.

I splurged on a silk ballgown and now own an Ava original!!

(Photograph by Ava S.)

Though it doesn't just have to be a special event to have the day-to-day interpretation has its perks!  For instance, here at Hosmer's Inn, where I play Mrs. Hosmer, hostess and innkeeper of the popular stagecoach stop, the actual village twins stopped in for tea and lively conversation:  

(Photograph via Facebook)

This also may have happened...

No tea cup?  That's alright, I'll just drink from the spout! 
(Photograph by Richard D.)

Last but not least, I taught my very first historical fashions class!  Seven bright, young students, seven decades of fashion and five days - summer camp Fashion Fun was a success!  (Eventually there will be a separate blog post or two about this...)

Silks!  Silks!  Oh delightful, yummy silks!

August - Another hot month...with just as many memories!

August means Laura Ingalls Wilder weekend, which is probably the best attended event of the season.  On Saturday I had the chance to assist our master dyer, Dawn, at the dye pots again!  It is always such a pleasure to work with Dawn.  No matter how many times I get to experience the 19th century dye process, each and every time I'm just in awe of all of the brilliant colors!  Out of all of the domestic arts we present at the village, besides sewing, this is my favorite: 

A sampling of our naturally-dyed merino wool skeins.
Eeeee just look at that rainbow of colors!

Close up shot of the purple section dyed with either
cochineal over a chrome mordant (left) or logwood (middle and right).

Our set up for the day:

Cochineal dye (left) & a chrome mordant (right) over the fire.
Almost every visitor thought we were cooking spaghetti and sauce,
I don't see why haha ;)

An indigo cake!
As an imported dye, these would have been available in a general store.

The day's work!
From left to right - spring green (if I am remembering correctly, weld over-dyed with indigo), shades of blue (indigo), purple (cochineal over a chrome mordant), a very red-orange (weld over-dyed with cochineal), and a bright red (cochineal).

Company in the confectionery!  Another ordinary day turned extraordinary by a visit from one of my good friends and globetrotter from Pittsburgh.  It's always a pleasure to share a building with another interpreter, especially one as skilled as Kaela at connecting with visitors: 

Kaela, the pretty confectioner.

And finally, something new this season, I got to mix it up by assisting in the interpretation office a bit!  It was an honor to be trusted with more responsibilities - driving golf carts, fire prevention inventories, answering phone calls, petting kittens...all in a days work! 

All in all, it was quite the summer!  Thank you for stopping by! 


  1. So glad that you had a fabulous summer!! Best wishes for all your future decisions!

  2. So glad that you had a fabulous summer!! Best wishes for all your future decisions!

  3. Squeeee I made it into the blog!

    1. Of course, Kaela! Your visit was certainly a highlight of my summer!