Friday, April 20, 2012

Dear Blogger,

Let's talk about your new interface*.

I hate it.

Glad we could have this talk.

No love,


*The powers that be decided that the backstage area of Blogger needed a facelift.  Katie does not approve.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Note: This is not to be taken seriously.  With that understanding, please proceed.

"I'm a dog person."

This is a socially acceptable thing to say.  Lots of people prefer dogs.  It's not weird for people to want a dog, or to keep more than one dog, or to dress their dogs up in weird costumes, or carry them around in purses.  Okay--maybe the last two are a little weird, but not like...freakish.  When I worked at Hobby Lobby, we had a lady come in with her dog so that it could help her pick out the beads she was going to use to make it a collar.  THAT was a little freakish.  But still; it was a dog.  Hardly anyone batted an eyelash.

"I'm a cat person."

This is slightly less socially acceptable.  Dog People are liable to sneer at Cat People, or tell horror stories about awful cats they've known, or make implications that owning cats--especially more than one--is somehow indicative of the owner's mental health.  Cat People are devoted to their felines, however, and it's not unusual for people to keep cats in multiples; some people keep them in droves.  Cats don't really make appearances in public, so you don't really see a Cat Person out walking their kitty on a harness, or carrying them around at a place of business.

Cat People and Dog People often don't agree on the Best Pet Ever, but it's generally accepted that Cat People and Dog People can coexist peacefully as long as their animals are kept apart.


I dare you to tell a Cat Person or a Dog Person that you have rats.  Dare. You.  Because this is the reaction you're probably going to get:


And not in a good way.

Well listen here, Cat and Dog and Other Pet people.  Do I look at you like you have the plague when you tell me you got a puppy?  Do I tell you I don't want to come over to your house because your cat always shoves it's anus in my face and it makes me uncomfortable?  Do I tell you about the time my neighbor's dog bit my foot and pulled me off my bike, or how my friend's cat took a chunk out of my arm while I was just standing by it, not doing anything?

Well, okay, I guess I did just tell you that.

I'm a Rat Person.  I have five rats.  They recognize my footfalls.  They answer to my voice and come when I call them.  They have never bitten me.  They have never scratched me in aggression.  I clean their litter pans and take them for walks.  I let them run around on my sofa, the bed, or the living room floor (with door gates in place and wires safely out of reach, of course.)  They're not allowed in the kitchen, and they certainly have never jumped up on the counter with their feet that have also walked in poop (Cats, I am looking at you.)  They don't drool, when they lick me it is soft and dry, and when they mark their territory it is a single drop of fluid that is easily cleaned up.

"I don't like their tails," people tell me.  "Their  beady little eyes freak me out."

That's fine.  I don't actually care.  I don't like cat fur or dog breath.  I don't feel the need to tell you that when you bust out a photo of your chihuahua.  And to revisit: cats like to show people their butts.  How is THAT not weirder than a perfectly functional tail or eyeball that minds its own business?

"They carry diseases."

Ever heard of ringworm?  It's a fungal infection.  I had a friend in high school who let his cat sleep on his pillow over the weekend.  That Monday he had a really nice ringworm infection on his forehead.  Clearly cats are super clean animals that never carry anything remotely close to a germ.  Turtles carry salmonella.  Any animal that goes outside can bring back ticks, which carry Lyme disease.  And let's talk about fleas.  I've had fleas before; I got them from other people--their dogs, their cats, or even their children**.  I've NEVER gotten a parasite, flea, sniffle, sneeze, or so much as a dirty look from a rat.

I've gotten a dirty look from a guinea pig before, but not a rat.

Hamsters too.  Those little monsters are EVIL.

But never a rat.

So what I'm saying is, I like rats.  You maybe don't.  That's fine.  But I don't tell you how much I don't like your cat, or your dog, or your iguana, or your mom.  I'm not saying you have to love my rats.  I'm just saying you have to respect my choice to own them, and respect the fact that I love them.  Just like I do NOT understand you wanting to own a cat or a dog...but if that's what you want, I'm sure that you love them very much and that you and your pet of choice are very happy together.  I respect please respect me.

And, if you don't,  I will train my army of rodents to swarm your bed and pluck out your eyeballs while you sleep.

Have a great day!

*No, I don't watch Glee.  It was just a great reaction.
**Yes.  Someone else's kid gave me fleas once.  It was HORRIFYING.  

Please note that this is meant to be read in a teasingly humorous tone of voice.  I'm not actually upset, I TOTALLY respect that rats/mice/rodents/snakes/whatever freak some people out.  My big thing is bugs--I turn into a useless hot mess in the presence of anything with more than four legs, so I promise, I understand how it feels.  Nobody I know has actually made me feel bad about owning rats, and all my friends who own cats or dogs have lovely animals that I lavish with affection whenever I visit.  I promise, this is all meant in good fun.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

That moment when...

I log into Blogger and see that I've gained followers overnight.

What I want to be like:

What I'm actually doing inside:

Now you know!

P.S. Hi new followers!  You guys are awesome, and thanks for following although I'm clearly a dork. <3

Monday, April 9, 2012

Design Board: Matt's 1812 Clothes

Via Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker
Since we're building a whole outfit from the skin out, I'm finding it helpful to keep a visual record of patterns, fabric choices, and inspiration images.  Erinn and I have been IMing each other links to sources and images for days, so I thought it'd be fun to give you guys a peek of what we've done.  And, because you know I'm a sucker for link lists, here's the list of needs and sources we've compiled:

Obviously there's more than that to create an overall look, but I think that's enough to be going on with, don't you?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Back to Basics: A Man's Wardrobe for 1812

Let's say you're building a historical wardrobe.  Do you design a look out of thin air and then look for documentation to support your choices, or do you find sources and then aim for a collection of well-made, accurate pieces that you can rely on in any situation?

I don't know about you, but I'm going with option number two.  That's my approach for my own clothing--historical and modern--and it's also going to be my approach with the Huebners' outfits.  Solid construction, mix and match pieces, and investment in good materials.  So with that in mind, I started pulling out inspiration images for Matt's kit.

John Lewis Krimmel (German American arttist, 1786-1821) The Quilting Frolic 1813
The Quilting Frolic, 1813
John Lewis Krimmel

John Lewis Krimmel is one of my favorite painters from this era. Many of his works are of normal people, doing normal things--it's essentially the period equivalent of a candid photo. In this case, I focused on the gentleman just right of center, in the green jacket. He's got a great look; striped socks and trousers, red waistcoat, green short jacket. Erinn and I both really liked this look, so it'll probably be our main inspiration. She's particularly fond of the striped trousers..."sexy stripes," she called them.

Fortunately for her and her stripe affinity, stripes, plaids, and solids were all popular choices for men's clothing in the period. Sometimes you'll see mix & match, clashing stripes, or even full on all-over plaid outfits. Definitely not like what you see today, but oh so wonderful all the same.

John Lewis Krimmel Merrymaking at a Wayside Inn 1811
Merrymaking at a Wayside Inn, 1811-1813
John Lewis Krimmel

This is another fun Krimmel painting, depicting travelers stopping at an inn--and dancing on their way. The gentleman on the left has some snazzy striped trousers, and his friend on the right is a Tower o' Plaid. Also note the shoes on these guys. Gotta love those regency ballet flats.

Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs, 1810
Via Nuranar on Flickr.

This dapper gentleman is from an English fashion plate, c. 1810. Which, yes, is slightly earlier than our target time period. I don't know about you, but I'm still wearing clothes I bought a couple years ago. And those trousers are way I'd be throwing them out if they were still wearable in 1812! I also like his spotted handkerchief--just visible in his left coat pocket. He's got some great seaming in his coat, too, with the low shoulder seam and tapered side back lines. Very nice.

Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs, 1810
Via Nuranar on Flickr.

Another 1810 plate with striped trousers, this time from the front. You can see a hint of his frog pockets or trouser fall up by his waist on the left, and this is our first really good look at a waistcoat. This one's plain--not a patterned fabric--and has a nice set of lapels on it. Also, his cravat has bunny ears.

Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs, 1811
Via Nuranar on Flickr.

This gent from 1811 is one of my favorites. He has the ever-popular striped trousers, with a checked waistcoat. Come on, now, you know you wish you were that awesome. Also note the length of the cuff--pretty long by our standards today, but totally in fashion at the time.

Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs, 1812
Via Nuranar on Flickr.

For a more sedate look, we have this plate from 1812, which has a horizontally striped waistcoat--no lapels this time, just a standing collar--with plain nankeen trousers. These have vents at the ankle, which seems to be optional.

Nankeen was a common fabric for trousers, and could be striped or plain--the second plate from 1810 above says in the caption that the trousers are striped nankeen. The plate from 1811 has a caption that translates (according to my mad Google Translate skills) to being trousers of striped duck, or ticking. There are also accounts and descriptions of linen trousers, and also of wool, both woven and knitted. (Yes...knitted trousers. Mike says they're super comfy.)

One thing you don't see a lot of in these plates and illustrations is men's shirts. They were basically an undergarment at that time, and wouldn't be worn alone except by laborers and nekkid folks. For example:

John Lewis Krimmel Village Tavern
John Lewis Krimmel, The Village Tavern
Don't judge; I really do love Krimmel's stuff.

I like to think this is the end of a the day, and you've got a couple of guys just off work stopping in for a well-deserved pint after all day out doing manual labor. Certainly their apparel suggest it--the aprons (and the one on the right is certainly well-worn), one man in his shirtsleeves, the other in sturdy boots. They look like they're no-nonsense types to me.

Another thing to note is that, other than the man I just pointed out in the above tableau, all of these gentlemen are wearing some variation of a black flat-soled shoe, with a relatively low vamp compared to what we think of as men's shoes today. Some of them come all the way to the ankle, but many of them dip low over the instep, which makes them look very ballet-flat-y to a modern eye. Some of them have decoration, and some don't, but it seems that this type of shoe was pretty common.

So for Matt, we're going to start out with some basics. He'll need a shirt, trousers, waistcoat, and coat. Like I said waaaay back at the beginning (*points*), we're going to be using Krimmel's The Quilting Frolic as our main inspiration. Tan striped trousers, red waistcoat, green short jacket. Done up in some nice linens, maybe a wool jacket, this should be a good practical, easy-to-wear starter outfit that he can build on over time. Updates to follow as we make progress!

Monday, April 2, 2012

I got three hours of sleep last night. Tops.

Which is maybe why I found this so funny.  Anyway, in lieu of actual content, I present to you:

The beginnings of the American Revolution, simplified
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: All right, fine, your stupid embargo worked. We won’t levy any more taxes-
  • AMERICAN COLONIES: Huzzah! Time to get drunk!
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: Except on tea.
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: Get over it, it’s just tea. Seriously, where do you get this idea that you’re special and should never have to pay taxes? We hope that idea doesn’t go on to infect your political discourse centuries from now.
  • AMERICAN COLONIES: We’re not buying your stupid tea.
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: Are you being serious right now? What are you going to do, just stop drinking tea?
  • AMERICAN COLONIES: Yes. We’ll drink coffee.
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: Do you even know what that is?
  • AMERICAN COLONIES: No, but we’ve heard it’s good and we’re feeling surly.
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: Fine, whatever, we don’t even care what you do anymore.
  • BRITISH EAST INDIA COMPANY: Actually, we are pretty much bankrupt, so you need to make them drink the tea.
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: Oh, for—just drink the tea.
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: Drink it.
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: Drink it or we’ll punch you in the face.
  • AMERICAN COLONIES: *Boston Tea Party*
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: What the hell?
  • AMERICAN COLONIES: We heard it was Indians.
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: That’s interesting, because we heard it was a bunch of colonists wearing paint and dressed in costumes that were remarkably similar to what a crowd of drunks who wanted to look like Indians would assemble if the only supplies they had were found in an alley behind a bar.
  • AMERICAN COLONIES: You get all types in Boston.
  • BRITISH EMPIRE: …*Coercive Acts*