Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Sunshine Award!

I have gotten a very unexpected, yet very pleasant surprise this week! I have been nominated for The Sunshine Award! The Sunshine Award is a way for bloggers to get to know a bit about each other (and, as a bonus, get some free PR ;) I was nominated by the lovely Paige of Sunday Best and All the Rest

To accept the Sunshine Award, one must:
  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger with a link to the website.
  2. Share 11 random facts about myself by answering the questions the nominating blogger has created for me.
  3. List a few bloggers I believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love! (I can’t nominate the blogger who nominated me.)
  4. Let the bloggers know I nominated them.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers I nominate to answer.

First, here are my answers to the questions Paige posed to myself and her other nominated bloggers.

1. What is your favorite thing to bake?
I love baking fish and sweet potatoes! Butter, salt and a little olive oil and lemon juice on Tilapia alongside a cinnamon-y sweet yam. Yum!

2. What is one of your favorite colors?
Purple!!! All hues are my favorite and my best!

3. Do you own any pets?
We have a Guinea Pig named "Money" (we drew names out of a hat and our 6 year-old wrote the only word he could spell besides his own name). But I'm a Dog-lover!!! I fully intend to have my own Bullmastiff in the near future!

4. What is your favorite way to spend the weekend?
Sewing mostly. That or shopping for fabric :P

5. What is your favorite scripture to turn to when you need encouragement?
Psalm 8

6. Do you wear jewelry the majority or minority of the time?
Majority, I guess. I love jewelry but I don't wear it excessively around the house (which is where I usually am). My personal style has something of a gypsy/boho feel to it; large earrings, bangles, anklets, toe-rings, etc. (not all at once) I feel that no outfit is complete without earrings!

7. What is your favorite style of casual shoe (whatever casual means to you ;))?
First of all, I LOVE shoes!!! I collect them. Secondly, my favorite style of casual shoe is cowboy boots. I am a cowgirl at heart (as I don't get out to ride much at all) and I love long as they're not pointy-toed. That doesn't count.

8. Dress Shoe?
I love a good solid wedge. Less likely for me to break than a heel :)
Peep-toe wedge-sandals, I absolutely adore!

9. What is your favorite thing about Winter?
NOT going outside.

10. What is your favorite season?
Autumn or Fall or whatever you prefer to call it. I spend the most time outside in that season. I love the weather :)

11. Why did you decide to start blogging?
Five years ago...I actually don't remember very well. It must have been a selfish reason because I left it off pretty quickly. Cherishing my Role was just sitting here on the WWW gathering cobwebs. But I remember that a little over a year ago, I decided that I could offer girls the same encouragement that I was getting from reading other similar blogs and I've been fairly consistent (minus last Summer) in posting since then.

This is so much fun! Here are my nominees...

Ashley and Gabrielle of Bramblewood Fashion
Kellie of Accordion to Kellie 
Jessica, Brigid and Charlotte of The Boyer Family Singers
Michaela of Rhapsody in Pink
Anna of Storia
Patrizia of Paper Mache
Stacey of The Country Corner
Tara Janelle of A Lass of Yesteryear
Desarae at Gladness of Heart

Here are my questions for you, ladies!
1. How long have you been blogging?
2. Tea or Coffee?
3. What are your favorite historical eras?
4. What fandoms do you associate yourself with (e.g.; Marvel, Doctor Who, LotR, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jane Austen, etc.)?
5. Do you play any instruments?
6. What is your favorite book of the Bible and why?
7. On a scale of 1-10, how do you feel about tweed?
(1 being "Disgusting", 10 being "Wish I lived in Yorkshire")
8. Do you enjoy traveling?
9. What is your most treasured childhood memory?
10. What is your personal style and how does it reflect your personality?
11. What is your all-time favorite item of clothing or outfit to wear?

If you have been nominated (I can't wait to see your answers!), you can comment below with the link to your post. Don't forget to link back to me as your nominator! Also, if it's a multiple-contributor blog that I mentioned, each of the contributors may answer the questions separately!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Accordion to Kellie: Literary Heroine Blog Party!!!

Kellie Falconer, the blogger behind "Accordion to Kellie", is hosting, for the 4th year running, "The Literary Heroine Blog Party! Pop over to her blog HERE to join in the fun! Here is my questionaire completed to get to know a little more about me :)

~ The Questions ~
1. Introduce yourself!  Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!

Greetings and salutations one and all! My name is McKenna and I am a history buff, musician, seamstress, lover of books and Earl Gray tea, an actress, costume designer and avid shoe-and-hat-wearer. I have many, many aspirations (many is an understatement) but right now I am focusing on Costume Designing and, on the side, acting, for the Independent Christian Film Industry. I hope someday to be blessed with a faithful, godly husband and a houseful of children and, eventually, grandchildren and great-grandchildren! I love traveling and adventure, but don't get out of the house much for now :) Mostly because it's Winter in the northern Midwest! Call me crazy, but I've never been much for the beach, though I'm not opposed to going, as long as I'm not expected to actually swim. I'm much more at home in a mountain and I really enjoy hiking, camping and horseback riding, though excursions are few and far between. I live in the suburbs of a city but I'm a country girl at heart! Randomness: I'm a selective perfectionist; I could care less about whether the dining room chairs are arranged properly or the mantel is disarrayed but the embroidery on the vest must be perfect!

2. What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine? 

One of the things of beauty that is a heroine, is how different each one is. Emma Woodhouse found humility, Jane Eyre was loyal, Kate Nickleby was committed to her purity, Jo March had perseverance, Margaret Hale and Amy Dorrit were both generous spirits and Elsie Dinsmore was a meek and quiet spirit; an example of godliness. All so different but all reflecting honorable virtues. This is sadly lacking in many of today's modern heroines that exemplify lying, cheating, immodesty, masculinity and sleaziness. True heroines are not defined by their social status, cultural circumstances, a cookie-cutter mold or even their "main character" status. What binds true heroines together is the reason they were created; to be an example of excellence for girls to aspire to. I think it may be safe to say that Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, Louisa-May Alcott, Elizabeth Glaskell and Martha Finley were, each and every one of them, hoping that their characters might be an inspiration for girls aspiring to take their own place in society as upright and exemplary models for the next generation of girls.

3. Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to. 

Catherine Moreland; aside from the fact that both of our fathers are in ministry and we're both part of big families, we have similar personalities. Naive, romantic and excitable with a penchant for avid reading and getting easily carried away. Emma Woodhouse; though I haven't attempted matchmaking (yet), I tend to mother-hen everybody like she did; leader of the conversation, dabble in many artistic endeavors and tend to be rather prideful and just a smidge self-absorbed. And lastly, Rose Allison-Dinsmore from the "Elsie Dinsmore" series. I love getting to instruct and encourage younger girls and try to uphold a godly example for them. I have also been told, more than once, that I am likely to marry a man a good many years older than myself!

4. Five of your favorite historical novels? 

In no particular order: 
1) Mother by Kathleen Norris 
2) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
3) Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
4) Elsie Dinsmore by Martha Finley
5) Little Women by Louisa-May Alcott
Note: I have read all of these books at least twice. 

5. Out of those five books who is your favorite major character and why? 

I definitely agree with the saying, "Asking me to choose my favorite book (character) is like asking me to choose my favorite child!" But, I think I can pick one in this case. Of the above, my favorite character is Margaret Paget from "Mother". I didn't mention her above in the heroines section but I identify with her so much!!! In the story, Margaret lives in a tiny town with her large family but longs to travel the world. When she gets the chance to do so, she discovers that everything the world was trying to teach her was false, while the teachings she received from her mother at home held true. 

6. Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why? 

Mother Wilder from Farmer Boy! Through the years, Mother Wilder has been an example to me of industriousness and hard work with graciousness. She came alongside her husband and supported him wholeheartedly and contentedly :)

7. If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there? 

There are so many places I want to go! But most of all, I want to go to England and Scotland. That's where my maternal great-great-great-great grandparents came from. That is why my first and middle names are Scottish :) I want to go to the Jane Austen Festival, go boating among the Hebrides and (a crazy dream of mine) go horseback riding across the highlands...I's hopelessly romantic idealism...

8. What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?

I have a hard time sticking with a true favorite for historical eras. Currently, I'm obsessed with the 1930-40s and also the 1850s. But Regency always reigns! I have a historical wardrobe full of Austen-inspired gowns and accessories. The English and Scottish culture has always fascinated me but my first love is and always will be American history.   

9. You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of? 

I would assemble a quartet (I play Viola). But, if it was just me, I might play a Flute solo or come up with a film score cover for Viola. For example, a medley of music from Tangled played on Viola or Violin and ending it with singing one of Rapunzel's songs.

10. If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?

Kellie, you are speaking my language! My imagination is going to quite run away with me! I would represent Emma Woodhouse. Or grown Elsie Dinsmore (1850s). I guess I'll cross that bridge if I ever get to it :)

11What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate?

God's gift to mankind. One of the evidences of Grace and an assurance that our sins have been forgiven!!! 

12. Favorite author(s)? 

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Elizabeth Prentiss, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Elizabeth George Speare, Eleanor Porter, Randy Alcorn (modern author), Corrie Ten Boom, Martha Finley, Louisa-May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Elizabeth Glaskell, Howard Pyle and that's just off the top of my head.

13. Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land? 

A large sewing kit. A notebook and a nice camera. As much spending money as I could muster and an extra suitcase. I'm big on souvenirs. 

14. In which century were most of the books you read written? 

19th century.

15. In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is… 

Nicholas Nickleby.

16. Describe your ideal dwelling place. 

A refurbished historical home filled with period furniture and antiques. A very homey house with lots of room for hosting and being hospitable. One reason I would love to live in a historical home is because they tend to have such large kitchens and pantries! In my mind, it's on a farm with a big barn and lots of animals. Horses, cows (I plan on marrying a cowboy, of course ;) chickens, pigs, goats, barn cats and several dogs! I love dogs! 

17. Sum up your fashion style in a short sentence. 

Classy vintage fashion with gypsy flair and just a dash of nerd.

18. Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name? 

Not yet. All the books I have read so far have had aptly named characters!

19. In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is... 

Ralph Nickleby.

20. Three favorite Non-fiction books? 

1) Costume Design 101 by Richard LaMotte
2) Joyfully Home by Jasmine Baucham
3) It's (not that) Complicated by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin 

21. Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon? 

Reading or hand-sewing outside in the fresh air :)

22. Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character. 

A deep-violet pleated felt cloche hat with a sprig of magenta-colored violets and a light pink ribbon. 

23. Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year. 

Moving a state over for 4 months, moving back to my hometown and now preparing to move, we don't know where yet, very soon.

24. Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.

Psalm 8 and 19!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

HSF '14 Challenge #3-PINK

Sorry this is a bit late in the day, but better late than never I suppose...this is my peachy-pink 1940s Easter dress. That means, I have plans to wear it on Easter! 
The pictures explain it better than I could but here's the gist...I can't figure out exactly what type of fabric it is (I'll have to ask Grandma when she visits next) but it drapes beautifully and acts like linen but doesn't feel like it :P
I went all-out and made a complete toile out of ugly pink broadcloth yuk and then ripped it apart and marked it and used it as the pattern for my expensive pink fabric that I was sweating bullets about cutting up. I love the neckline and the cut of the bodice all the way around! I'll be using this pattern again for sure. I promise I'll reference it tomorrow after I, you know, sleep. (See update below)

Neckline detail. Sorry it's blurryish.

Waistline detail.

Back neckline.

Back and sleeve.

Back hem detail.

The Challenge: #3-Pink
Fabric: White-Flowered Pink Drapey Cotton/Linen
Pattern: Simplicity 0970 
Year: 1943
Notions: Thread, 1 Button
How historically accurate is it?: 100%
Hours to complete: 5-6
First worn: For the Photoshoot
Total cost: 2 1/2 Yards Fabric-$17.50 (I splurged), Pattern-$10.50. Total: $, after adding that up, I just realized that this is more than I've ever spent on any item of clothing ever!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Using Your Gifts to Glorify the Lord and Bless Your Family

Oftentimes, when people find that I am a home-educated young lady living at home, they stiffen up a bit and remark, "If you're spending all your time at home, then aren't you wasting your talents?" If you're a young lady who has decided to live at home under the protection of your Father until the day he hands you in marriage to the love of your life, maybe you've had this reaction before as well. Sometimes, people on the "outside" have a hard time seeing things from your perspective. Firstly, let me note that I don't say "outsider" in a derogatory manner at all. What I mean by the phrase is someone with a different view point than yours. For example, if you live in the country and step out onto your back porch and see the mountains in all their glory, it would be difficult for someone, who has grown up in the city and never traveled, to imagine the view you get. Have I clarified myself? Good. 

"For What are the Voices of Birds" by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale
If you have talents (e.g.; cooking, sewing, writing or playing music, singing, managing taxes, wrangling alligators, etc.) it's a common assumption that since you "spend all your time at home", you're locked in a dungeon of uselessness. This is the opposite of the truth! The years that you have at home can be some of the most talent-useful years of your life! The people that make these seemingly-ignorant comments are operating on the assumption that all you do is sit on the couch in your PJs, do schoolwork and change diapers. Coming from that angle, it would be easy to justify their questions. 

One of my goals in living at home is to be a blessing to my family. To come under the headship of my Father and further his vision as is Biblically accurate. It is my JoY (see my Mom's blog) to serve my family and that is actually where I have the most opportunity to use my gifts and talents! And I must stop to clarify again; often, the word serve is associated with bad or unpleasant things. I beg to differ! When I get the opportunity to do as Jesus did and spend my time and talents to bless those around me, I'm content and happy. 

Art by Jessie Wilcox Smith

Now, on to practicality beyond sentiment :) The point of this post is not to say "thou must not use thy talents outside thine dwelling place"! This is merely a suggestion that your talents, whatever they may be, were given to you by God to reflect Him and to bless those around you. If God has given you a talent for music, be it playing an instrument, singing or writing new music (or all of the above), I believe that your musical skills are far from being "wasted" on your family! Teaching your little sister how to play the piano or scoring your brother's short film is anything but wasting your talents. And I'm certainly not decreeing that you shouldn't play in the band at church or offer to teach the young children in your community how to sing or play.

 If you are a Christian, the ultimate goal of your life is to give glory to God and lead others to Him. When we, as gifted young ladies, use the talents that He has bestowed upon us to bless Him and others, that is fulfilling one aspect of the way He designed us! Jesus knew that He had a limited time on Earth, yet even with that in mind, He served others without self-focus. He could have been off preaching to the masses when he took the time to bless the little children (Matthew 19:13-15). And I think that following Jesus' example is an excellent idea!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

HSF Challenge #2-Innovation: Blue Velveteen Regency Spencer

The garment called a "Spencer", named after the Earl of Spencer, was the first women's garment for outdoor wear that included sleeves! It was truly a life-saver, since, during the very early Regency years, when women began to wear fewer layers (going from at least 6 to as few as 2!), they began to get sick because they didn't have sufficient outerwear to protect them from the elements. Cloaks weren't as effective as they once had been. When the "Spencer", often a military-style coat, came out for men, it was quickly adapted for women to accommodate the empire waistlines and keep them warm through the seasons of cold.

I was really excited about this challenge! Particularly because I've had Jennie Chancey's "Regency Spencer/Pellisse" pattern for a few years and haven't gotten around to using it yet. It is a very good pattern overall. However, the sleeves, as you can see, are very big on me and it almost channels the mid 1820s instead of the late 1790s, which is the year my white gown comes from. I'm going to go back later and take the sleeves in, easy-peasy. 

Oh! You like my turban? Why thank you! It's a quick, easy and historically acurate way to conceal my scandalous lack of hair! All I used was a scarf, a few bobby pins and 2 feathers.
I know I didn't get any pictures, but sometimes, the most enjoyable things about a project are the details that go unseen. Things like hand-sewing, which I LOVE to do! I machine-stitched most of the Spencer but after the sleeves were in, it was mostly by hand. When I do up sleeves, I like to leave the lining free and then hand-stitch it in place over top to conceal the seam :) I got through almost 2 episodes of "Lark Rise to Candleford" during the sleeves and the hem. I also tacked down the collar so it would stay in place.

The Challenge: #2-Innovation
Fabric: 2 yards Navy Blue Velveteen
Pattern: Sense and Sensibility Patterns "Regency Spencer"
Year: 1818ish
Notions: Thread, 1 Frog Closure
How historically accurate is it?: 100%
Hours to complete: 3-4, it was a quick one :)
First worn: Only worn around the house to show it off!
Total cost: $0! This project was stash-tastic!