When you hear the word reenactor what do you think of? My guess is that you see a uniform that belongs to a military group. That is not wrong, it is just not all encompassing. There is a growing number of reenactors who portray civilians. Why is that important? Well, it is important because there were more than just soldiers 100 years ago. Believe it or not most soldiers knew other skills and trades – much like todays soldiers. I wanted to bring a small group to your attention. It’s a civilian group that dedicates their interpretation of history to that of civilian life, each person takes and creates a world unto their own and when all those little portraits come together well its just amazing.
That group is called Frontier Living History. Why is this group worth mentioning and more so talking about? This group is a like minded group of individuals who came together with the idea that they didn’t fit the typical reenactor look and still wanted to be in the hobby. How can you not fit the typical look you ask? Well think back to my first question, what do you think of when you hear the word reenactor. Being a petite woman, I personally do not fit that form- heck I can barely lift a Brown Bess long enough to shoot it. Other members have stated that they are too old to be in the military for the era, and others still state that they have health concerns that prevent them from ‘falling in.’
All the displays and demonstrations that are done by this group are historically researched and done in the most historic manner possible. (Yes, Jay and I are part of this group.) Here is a contrast for you: when you walk into a military display they are all about the same, person cleaning gun, person shooting gun, person shouting orders… they are all slightly different but if you have been to one military camp you can say you have seen them all. When you walk into civilian camp, you are walking into a unique setting, stamped with its own quirks and while the same tools and equipment may be at each civilian camp – none are utilized the same.
Who, when camped with General Forbes on his march to Fort Duquesne got up and said, ‘oh I think I want to wear my green coat with red facings today’ Nope! Didn’t happen, you got up off your small bed and 1 blanket and put on your regimental that you were ordered to wear. In a civilian camp you see pretty dresses on women, you can see handsome suits on men, even the common suits of clothing were pretty awesome compared to the same wool coat your entire unit had to wear. There are options for civilians! Many, many options! When you walk into a camp or even a table display like Frontier Living History has at their upcoming event you can see how interesting history can be beyond the guns and smoke.
On Saturday, Frontier Living History will have a table display to help talk to possible people of interest for joining the group. We like the hearty discussions and teaching the public and yes, we still get questions like ‘is that a real fire?’ and ‘Is that tool sharp?” So, if you are interested you should come by and say hi. I believe that you will see at our table, spoon making tools, weaving and spinning items, and possibly even games!
We won’t be the only table there, and you will find armies from almost all American eras from Jamestown settlers to the Vietnam war. Do you need a hobby or want a new one? You are sure to find the right fit.
Links are below for both US AHEC and Frontier Living History if you want to read more about them!
This morning we got up and headed out to Fort Roberdeau. Never hear of it? Its ok! Its a great gem of a place, and while it is in a big town (Altoona) it is off the beaten path. Jay and I go out usually in October for their Market Faire event, but sadly that got canceled this year. We decided that we would attend the Rev War Days in its place.
We set up in our same little area as always, and were near our good friends of Frontier Living History. Tad ran the Children's Games and Melanie did her Flax to Linen demonstration. We had steady visitation all day! Up to on the top of the hill was the British camp and next to the fort was the American Camp. I got some nice pictures but truth be told, Jay got some better ones. UPDATE: I got the computer, my phone and the website to cooperate and the photos are below! HUGE thank you to Jay for offering the helping tip to make it all work!
So I spent the day talking it up with visitors and weaving tape. I had a great day, even when the wind picked up while I was warping up my tape loom (literally the only time it got gusty all day!) Jay was busy making spoons. He made a Black Walnut spoon, and a maple spoon and as soon as they were done they were in the hands of visitors. Both will be staying in PA - wishing the owners happiness and joy!
We also had a visit from Lynn of the Conrad Weiser Homestead, he came to pick up 2 more spoons - Jay sent him back with a Sweet Gum (look out Cherry you have competition!) and another Red Oak stirring spoon.
Anyways, I guess this bog post is the longest possible way of saying if you are sad that you didn't see this event, or have nothing to do tomorrow you are cordially invited to come out and play with us! We will be at the event from 10 to 5! Directions can be found anywhere but from me.
Have a Great Evening!
Leigh Ann and Jay
Good Evening Friends!
Jay and I took a road trip up to the Conrad Weiser Homestead today. We dropped off the first round of spoons for sale. We got up there just as they were setting up for an event. I got some lovely photos of the grounds (again) and got to say hi to some good friends!
Jay decided to take up 6 spoons, 1 each of red oak, black walnut, maple, birch and 2 cherry spoons. We made a 5 spoon display so they were able to keep one back for one others sell. The wood is all local wood except for the birch - that is straight from Maine! Anyways, we took 6 and set them up all pretty. Spent a few more moments looking at trees, and the scenery then decided to go antiquing.
We were told of 3 new places, so we decided to travel to them. One was closed (insert sad face) one we found a nice Draw Knife for Jay and the last one was nice but we left with no new toys.
We got home and spoke with Lynn who told us that 2 of the spoons we had taken up had already found a new home! We hope that the spoons bring joy and peace to each person who uses them. We heard that one is on its way to Utah!
I will add photos when I can...they are stuck on my phone for the time being!
Have a good evening!
Jay and Leigh Ann
I owe our readers/viewers/friends an apology! No, I have not forgotten you! No we did not lock the doors and leave town! We simply just got bogged down with the day jobs, and catching up on house work. Really I can not believe that it has been so long since our last talk! Anyways, your caught up now!
Happy Fourth of July! Hope that your day was not washed out like it was here at the Stone House! The day was not a total loss, in fact we had quiet a bit of fun until the thunderstorm rolled in. We needed the rain and the break, we worked hard today!
So today Jay and I worked on spoons! We got several that were started finished (my job was to oil them.) Jay also started a few new ones! Stone House had several orders that are now caught up, once the oil sets we will mail/deliver the spoons to the right places. <cough cough... Josh/Allison, yours will be to you very soon!...cough cough>
This coming weekend, we will be with family and working on some sewing projects that will top secret until they are done... hint - They are freekin fabulous!!! We will be on the quiet side for the next few days. Then will come the magic! The week of the 15th we will be at Fort Roberdeau, they are hosting a Rev. War days and we will be there. Jay with his spoons and me with weaving. We may be day tripping as we do not have a boarder for Piper yet... Boy that pup!
You all know that I got lost easy so here is a map to the site... use it, use google, use mapquest - anything but don't ask me for directions!
One last thing, last weekend was Fort Niagara, and there are TONS of great pics. I posted a few to the facebook page. Take a look! I also posted to instagram the new spoons! Check them out! Oh and we are SO CLOSE to hitting 100 likes on facebook. I know in the grand scheme that is not many but to us that is a milestone, if you have not liked us yet, please do. If you already liked us, please send your friends/family/history peeps to the page to get that thumbs up.
Good evening dear friends!
Today Jay received a wonderful email! It was from the Conrad Weiser Homestead and they asked if we would consider adding spoons to their gift shop. It is very humbling to be asked to make spoons, (or anything for that matter!) for a historic site!
Jay and I talked and feel that this is a GREAT opportunity for both you and us, as it gives us a way to get beautiful spoons into your hands. It will also offer you a place to pick just the right one for you! Shape, texture and the overall look are all things that are hard to show in a picture. If you pick mugs, and fabric based on touch, you will understand and appreciate being able to touch, look at and even smell the spoons to pick just the right one. By selling at the homestead we will also have more time to set up an online store.
We plan on starting small, with a limited number available. Each one is hand made with tools that are authentic to the 18th Century. We do not have all the details finalized but wanted to share our exciting news with you! So be on the look out for more information... and once they are at The Conrad Weiser Homestead we will spread the word!
Leigh Ann and Jay
So Jay and I moved into the big stone house in 2013. That is almost 4 years ago now! There are STILL boxes that we have not opened or unpacked from our move. We worked hard to pack everything and make sure that it got from the old apartment to the new house with out breaking and yet we never unpacked it! (Do most people have this problem?) Anyways, we decided, after 4 years, that it was time to start de-cluttering the big stone house!
We are now working on re-purposing our guest room into a history room/craft room. I am so excited that we will finally have space to do crafts (not on the floor in the living room or the table in the dinning room!) We will also have space to store all our gear between events... because you know the garage sometimes makes too much sense. I have been walking around all the trunks/baskets and clothes for 2 weeks now because, again, we had no real home for any of it.
Speaking of events, we have one next weekend! The event will be at Fort Frederick and it will be one of the many Garrison Weekends they host. Jay and I will be under the nice new fly. He will be making spoons and selling any that we have finished. I will be weaving - find your tape needs now as I will have a wide variety available.
The fort is a HUGE stone fort, located in a very beautiful part of Maryland. The fort was build to help protect the settlers in the area from potential Native Raids. It did what it was designed to do,then it was used in the revolutionary war and in the War of American Independence...and now it's a historic park. Here is a map for you to find your way... I don't give directions - I want you to get to the event!
So we got our first letter requesting spoons. It was a wonderful surprise and truly felt like an honor. Jay was happy to fill the order and it was delivered today much to the delight of the receiver.
Jay posted a photo on Facebook to showcase how we packaged them and explained that they were made to bring happiness to a sometimes sad and lonely world. His post was a hit! He had many requests for spoons to be put up on the website, and while we do have intentions of that soon, we do not currently offer that.
Please keep your eyes out for events that we will be selling the spoons at and come back to the website periodically so that you can see if we posted any!
Here is what I would like from you, so that when we do post spoons for sale, we get it right the first time! What is your preferred method of payment? (Paypal, Square, etc.) What is your preferred shipping method? (USPS or UPS) Leave your thoughts in a comment and I will do research in the meantime. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get the spoon of your choice!
Jay and I had a total blast at the homestead today. We got there early and were able to enjoy a stop for breakfast, and an easy set up (Thanks Brian! You were a great help!) Then we were able to take in the lovely setting. We have been going to the homestead for several years, but this was the first time we got to walk the grounds. It was enchanting and romantic - a great location for a nice family picnic or wedding.
See! It is beautiful! The crafts/trades people were set up in the rear of the house. It was nice, there were several interpreters: a tavern, a shingle maker, a carpenter (hewing HUGE logs in moccasins) a basket weaver, gunsmith and lots more! Jay and I were set up near the main entrance and we got so busy that we did not make it to all the areas - we missed the barn completely! :(
The hosts, Lynn and Kim Otto were wonderful, they helped set up, provided a great lunch and then helped to tear down with everyone. - A BIG thanks to both of them and all the volunteers that helped to make today fun and successful!
Here are some photos that Jay and I took during the day. If you have some from the event we would love to see them! Tag Stone House History on Facebook or Jay or myself!
Jay and I are going to prep tomorrow for an event on Sunday up in Berks County. A little known gem, The Conrad Weiser Homestead. It has all the beauty of an estate, but its a stone house - like ours - built in the 1700's. There is a spring kitchen, outbuildings and even a pond! If you need quills for your letter writing, you can find the feathers there.
They are hosting a Colonial Craft Day and will be featuring several great people interpreting many trades/crafts of the 18th Century. Some of the people have portrayed blacksmiths, gunsmiths, horners, weavers and of course tools. Last year, at this event they even had a cobbler!
This is a rain or shine event, as they will open the big barn on the property for all the craft/trade tables.
They are also having an event Saturday. It is called Forest Diplomacy, and will feature many Native Americans. I hope to get a lot of new pictures to show off of the beautiful property and all the great trades people, when we visit on Sunday.
Do you have plans this weekend? What are they, Jay and I would love to know whats going on! Put your comment at the bottom of the post!
It was a quiet week at the Stone House. I was sick most of the week with a sinus and ear infection. If you have ever had pain in your ear - then you know, that is until you don't know. I got appropriate medication but then had a bad reaction... If you think ear pain is bad, I would have traded you in a New York Minute! Anyways, I am mending now and getting ready for some upcoming events.
Jay and I took time this weekend to go thrift shopping. It was nice! We had a few good finds. He found a butcher chisel for a dollar, and a table. I found clothes pins - a whole mes of them (4 quarts worth!)
Back to that table, it was a nice little table, but it was an ugly finish. Jay asked me to paint the bottom red and he would see what he could do with the top. A quick minute or two later, after using a toothing, smoothing and panel plan, the top was all done! Jay asked for red, as it was a common table color and I embellished it with gold pin striping. Here is the finished not ugly any more table!
Next weekend we will be demonstrating Spoon Making and Tape Weaving at the Conrad Weiser Homestead's Craft day. (June 4) If you are interested in historic arts, or just want to view beautifully kept grounds, then this is the place to be. If my head cold is still fighting me, then you may even learn an 18th Century trick or two to cure that as well!