Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wedding Wednesday

It's not a great photo.  Some of the folks moved and blurred the shot. The left and right sides are over exposed by the flash.  It's on cheap gray card stock. Despite all the shortcomings of this image it was likely treasured by the family.
Wedding circa 1902

There are so many great details in this image.
  • A grass mat covers the floor.
  • The two women on the left wear ethnic style vests.
  • Everyone is solemn except the guy on the right. He's smiling. 
  • The bride's head piece entwined by vines is very interesting.
  • Is that the maid of honor and the best man seated in front?  It appears so. She holds a pair of gloves while he holds a cigar.
  • The group is so large it exceeds the edges of the backdrop and a piece of studio equipment is visible on the right. 
  • The odd framing of the picture in that irregular shape is odd. 
Here's close-ups of these items plus a few more.
 The maid of honors dress helps date the photo. The silhouette of her dress is the typical s-curve of the early years of the twentieth century. Billowy front with a narrow waist and a full skirt. Her corset would have emphasized the curve.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hey! Don't I know you?

Hey! Don't I know you?

How good are you at recognizing faces?  Researchers found that 1 in 50 have some version of face blindness. Watch the video and take the test.  You might be surprised. 

Tech Tuesday: Shuttersong

I saw this lovely app, Shuttersong, mentioned in a column in Better Homes and Gardens.  Can't wait to try it, but can't seem to download it for either Apple or Android.  It allows you to add music to photos or a voice over.  

Maybe it hasn't officially launched yet?   I've search the app store for my iPad and the Google Play store for my Android.

Anyone currently using it?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Saving a Slice of Family History

Family history is so much more than a collection of documents. It's also in the holiday traditions passed down from generation to generation.

In my husband's family one of these traditions features a special Easter cake made by his mother.  A lamb with a jelly bean necklace. Over the years she'd perfected the recipe and the appearance of this symbolic cake creation.  Unfortunately, she's no longer able to make that cake.

 Yesterday we wanted to make the day special for her.  She's had a rough time lately and we thought the lamb cake would make her smile.  The only problem was that we couldn't find the mold for it.  My sister-in-laws looked high and low in her kitchen.  We discussed the possibility that my father-in-law had thrown it out (gasp!).  A few weeks ago, we packed up her kitchen and discovered the mold in the cabinet with the mixing bowls and plastic storage containers.  There was so much whooping that the movers thought we were crazed. We were cake crazed.

I took the challenge and decided to try my hand at recreating it.  Oh the pressure!  Do you have any idea how many disastrous lamb cakes are on Pinterest?  Enough to make me sweat.  I searched the web for instructions.  The end result was far from perfect.
I didn't have her cake recipe. I decided not to use her beloved 7 minute icing recipe from the Joy of Cooking.  Oops! I baked it in two pieces instead of one. Those web directions were WRONG.  A little green Easter basket grass around the edges of the plate would make it look better.  Toothpicks held the two halves together.

Thank goodness I snapped pictures of it and sent them to my sister-in-law's. When I went upstairs to change my clothes I overheard my daughter say, "Oh...Mom is going to be really upset."
Yup.  The neck broke and the head fell off.  We took it to dinner anyway and my mother-in-law smiled. Seems that very thing often happened to her cake.
My husband looked at our daughter and said with a smirk on his face, "you better pay attention, it's your job to pass it on to your children." You can imagine that wide eyed stare. 

Next year I'll try again. My resolutions are to make a one piece cake, use her icing recipe and edible green coconut.  No way am I picking all that artificial grass out of the servings hoping no one got a toothpick.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weekend at the Museum: Concord Museum and the Shot Heard 'Round the World

On April 19, 1775 colonists and British troops skirmished at the North Bridge.  It was the "shot heard 'round the world."  The momentous events of that day are taught to school children across the United States.  The details of what is known called Patriot's Day seem like dusty national memory until you visit the Concord Museum's new exhibit. The real bits of history are on display in a chronological accounting of events.
 Among the items you can see:
William Diamond's Drum

  • Paul Revere's Lantern
  • William Diamond’s drum that summoned the Lexington militia to the Common 
  •  James Hayward’s powder horn, pierced by the bullet that killed him
  • a mirror broken by the British and passed down in a family with a handwritten note until given to a museum. 
History is comprised of the actions of ordinary people and viewed through the articles they've left behind. 

An ancillary exhibit of images from my Last Muster Project shows viewers the faces of the men and women who lived in Revolutionary times. Museum visitors were struck by the intensity of the portraits and the life stories of these individuals. Thank you to Carol Haines and Sara Lundberg for their support of this project.

I hope you'll take your children and grandchildren on a field trip to see these exhibits. They are on display until September 21, 2014. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Collage

I'm having a great time playing with   The evidence is this collage that focuses on the details in this wedding portrait. It's another unidentified bride and groom from images I've collected.

On April 6th, The New York Times included a story, "With Grandma's Ring, I Thee Wed," on the resurgence of interest in vintage wedding rings.  Not those bought in jewelry stores, but those passed down in the family. I wonder if the rings worn by the couple in this collage are still in their family.

If you have vintage rings, the New York Times would like to see them for an online Instagram album.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: A White House Affair

President and Mrs. Cleveland, Littleton View Co., 1886.

In 1886, 21-year-old Frances Folsom married 49-year-old President Grover Cleveland, a bachelor. Frances became an instant style maven with young women copying her hairstyle. 

She was the daughter of one of Cleveland's friends, Oscar Folsom. At the time of the wedding,  Cleveland was the executor of her father's estate and was guiding her upbringing. Her mother approved of the marriage and so did the American public.   Frances was the youngest first lady.  

This stereoview commemorates their wedding. Littleton View Company of Littleton, New Hampshire and their distributor, Underwood and Underwood sold their cards around the world. The card's caption appears in both English and Spanish. 

Here's an interesting historical tidbit relating to the couple:
During the 1884 presidential campaign against James G. Blaine, Cleveland admitted paying child support to Maria Crofts Halpin for her son Oscar Folsom Cleveland.  It's an interesting name since it's a combination of his friend Oscar's name and the Cleveland surname. 

Library of Congress
Detractors of Cleveland's used this against him with a phrase, "Ma, Ma, Where's my pa?"


Sunday, April 06, 2014

Thank you to the Maine Genealogical Society and the Maine Historical Society

A great big thank you to everyone who attended yesterday's Maine Genealogical Society Spring Conference held in Augusta. I have a new appreciation for that part of the state.  It was my first trip to the state capitol and I hope to get back there at some point. The Maine Historical Society was a co-sponsor of the day.

I spent Friday at an antique mall and picked up a few stereographs for future projects.  Here's a homemade one.
These folks were clowning for the camera--drinking and dozing.  It's from the late 1890s.  Don't you love the portrait on the wall?  This was on the back of a image of snowy owls.  The family photographer re-purposed a purchase stereo card.

Dinner at The Senator with MGC Board members was outstanding. Good food and great company.  I have a lot of food allergies so it's always a bonus when a restaurant has a dessert that's wheat, dairy and nut-free. Take a look at this!
It was a good as it looks. Raspberry sorbet in a meringue shell. 

Saturday's weather started out cloudy and rainy, but the atmosphere at the Elks Club was cheery. There was no confusion about where the event was going to be held.  This sign was on the main road.

The four lectures of the day were: Photo Detecting 101 (with a special emphasis on Civil War images), Photo Preservation, The Last Muster, and Hairsteria/Mad as a Hatter.   The hats and hair lecture kept everyone laughing after lunch.

Thank you again!  Can't wait to go back to Maine.  It was a very relaxing train ride from Boston.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Wedding Wednesdays: 1890 Veil

Wedding circa 1890
In the late 1880s to early 1890s brides wore headdresses and long veils. Leaves and seed pearls piled high on top of up-swept hair was the fashion. Long trailing ribbons of pearls and greenery frame her face. The groom wears a matching corsage.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weekend at the Museum: Silver in the Family

Not just photographs tell us things about our ancestors and their lives. Their artifacts tell stories as well.  Anyone living in the Palm Beach Florida area still has time to visit a lovely exhibit at the Flagler Museum.  It's called Stories in Sterling: Four Centuries of Silver in New York.

For those of us not able to visit Florida, don't worry.  The exhibit is also online.
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