Monday, August 15, 2011


Whats a party without Games and Toys?

We must keep the small folks entertained, but honestly the bigguns like to play too!
In my rounds today I discovered Jack Straws or Spillikins, which Jane Austen apparently played. Now as a child I did play with Pick-up-sticks, so I was glad to have another game that we could play.

"One evening, Belinda was playing with little Charles Percival at jack straws."
Belinda, Vol 2, By Maria Edgeworth, 1811, Page 208

"After they had learned these, Harry and Lucy refreshed themselve,s by playing a game at Jack straws, or as some call them spillikins."
Early Leasons, by Maria Edgeworth, 1824, page 249

So I looked for a set. Options were:
1. Antique bone, ivory, wood. Not only would that be expencive, but I wouldn't want to let my children play with them.
2. Vintage plastic or wood. some sets were colored, so that wouldn't work!
3. Historical reproductions. more expencive than the antique if hand carved.

In the end I purchased this vintage set. Hey it was cheap! I figured the off white plastic would "pass" as bone or ivory. If it doesn't meet my standards when I get it, I will look at modern  historical reproductions of wood.

I also have 4 bamboo ball and cup toys from Cost Plus World Market. I am hoping to do paper dolls as well.

I do have a plastic Diabolo, but I don't know how to use it! Wooden ones can be found.

We should look into other toys and games as well.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Food for the eyes

A step away from the costuming for a little bit.
I have 50% secured the location, unfortunatly it is going through a remodel and I don't know exactly how it will look when finished! I have heard 2 things require more thought.
1. No tape or holes are to be put on/in the walls.
2. There will be exercise equipment folded against the walls. I don't know what type though.

There are 2 bathrooms and a number of folding tables and chairs as well as a full sized, though small kitchen and a fireplace. Maybe some of that exercise equipment can be pushed into one of the bathrooms or under a table? Don't know will wait and see.

So we have decorating issues to deal with and quite a bit of unknown.
I have thought of purchasing a large white sheet and painting a backdrop for a "photo session" location, which of course means I will have to brush up on my faux painting. I have been looking through regency era copper plates published in magazines of the era to get an idea of decorations. Looks like we will need some cheap fabric for curtains! We will also need table cloths. Now I do not know what to do about the chairs. the period chairs I am finding look very different from our modern folding chairs. I do how ever have a half dozen or so wooden folding chairs, and we could make fabric slip covers?

I have begun collecting electric candles, so far I have a dozen pillars, I still want some tapers and I know my guests are looking for lights as well.

The other thing I have bugun thinking about is food.
I have decided against attempting a period dinner for several reasons
1. I am not a good cook, I am also a picky eater. I also do not want to spend time on researching and learning recipies. I also do not want to put more pressure and resposibilities on my guests than is needed. I know some of them are likely to stand up and offer to help, but I think attempting to be historically accurate on food is a waste of our time.
2. I know my guests have certain dietary issues, including but not limited to: Kosher, Diabetese, Gluten sensitivity/allergy, Lactose sensitivity/allergy. We also will have 7 children under the age of 6!

I have found that a local bakery will make Gluten Free cakes, some of which are also dairy free. I have not been able to try them yet, as they are not a regular offering. Maybe I should order some cupcakes for my husband's birthday as a test?

There will be NO alcohol at my party. There will however be a little keg of root beer, plus some other sparkling juices to make a festive appearance in our glasses! If you have a favorite sparkling juice/ carbonated beverage, please let me know!

Then there is the issue of what to eat off of? I refuse to use plastic plates that are meant to be tossed in the garbage, I also can not compost. I only have enough plates to serve about 6 people, my mismatched silver-wear can do about 10, I have a set of 6 spoons for little people. So I am looking at nice reusable or recyclable dinner, flat, and beverage wear. I would like to avoid all colored plastics. I am thinking of things that truly mimic glass, crystal, and ceramic. My best bet might be to get some more silver-wear for my home, plus some forks for the kidlets.

This morning, we had pancakes and I used the last of the maple syrup, I was looking at the bottle and noticed just how much it looks like ancient pottery, but in plastic! so I am saving the bottle to be used as a decoration, the threads will be cut off. The Regency/Empire/Napoleonic period was positively saturated with influences from the ancient Greeks and Romans, so keep your eye out for inspiration!