Sunday, May 31, 2015

Upcoming WWII Events

I've never been to any WWII events, ever. Considering my passion and love for the time period, that doesn't really make sense, does it?? I decided to do a search to find out if there were any events coming up, and there's one this weekend in Reading, PA! I really hope we get to go, because what fun!
There was quite a bit of info for other events that I found:

Mid-Atlantic Air Museum's 25th Annual WWII Weekend (Reading, PA)

Williamsport, MD WWII Weekend (not sure of the date yet)

WWII Weekend at the Eisenhower National Historic Site, PA

Military Vehicle Preservation Association events - this site has events listed all around the country! One event looks cool - a military convoy from Washington D.C. to San Diego, CA!

WWII Weekend in Frederick, MD

National Electronics Museum, MD is co-hosting Warfront to Homefront: World War II in Maryland. It is a coalition of 70 museums and civic organizations commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in August 2015. This looks like some pretty exciting stuff! You can check our their Facebook page here.

It looks like there are lots of fun events coming up! I'd forgotten that the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII is coming up in August. Check your local museums for WWII events happening in your neighborhood!

(And don't forget all the other fun historical anniversaries going on or coming up soon! Check out my previous post about them here!)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Procrastinator's Thoughts

Okay, okay, so I'm horrible at sewing goals.

I am working on those 18th century breeches. Right now I'm staring down 11 more button holes to finish. *sigh* Not the most fun I've had with a needle. Just so you know, if you ever want to sew a pair of 18th century breeches, there are 14 button holes. And they're not tiny ones, either!! Just so you know what you're getting yourself into...

I like sewing while watching a good movie or TV show, but lately, my hubby and I have been watching some great Korean dramas. It's very difficult to read subtitles and do sewing at the same time though. Believe me, I've tried. So, yeah. No sewing is done during those hours.

I've thought a few times that I might abandon this sewing project, but if I did that, I'm afraid I wouldn't get any sewing done! So, I'll keep plugging away.

When I was finishing up my WWII rationing project, I was thinking ahead to my next project. I had another fun idea for the 1940s, but I really wanted to focus on some 18th century sewing too. Now, I wish I'd just done both! It's not too late to start though. Maybe do it as a half year project? We'll see how busy my summer gets -- or doesn't. My writing has been pretty consuming too. I'm really hoping to have my book all finished by the end of this year. Wouldn't that be dandy?!

In the mean time, I promise I'll get to work on those button holes. I need to get my son's outfit finished before he grows out of it! I still have his shirt and waistcoat to make. Arrg! Stop growing, kid!

Monday, May 11, 2015

2nd Draft

I've mentioned on here a few times that I'm working on an historical fiction novel set in WWII. I've written a few first drafts in my life, but I've never actually worked on a 2nd draft before! So, it's a new experience for me and I'm learning a lot as I go.

So, in case you've been wondering how that 2nd draft is going...

The first 5 chapters about ready to get butchered.

There was only so much working on a laptop could do for me. Sometimes you've just gotta lay it all out.

I had one English professor in college have our class go through this exercise where we had to cut up all the paragraphs of our short story. Then we had to give it to another person and they arranged it in the order they thought made sense. It was quite the revealing exercise! I was kind of going for that with taping it all up, but really, it's just easier to make notes this way when I can see it all at once. :-)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Ration Recipe: Beef Biscuit Roll

Cooking on a Ration by Marjorie Mills came to my rescue yesterday. I've been in a cooking slump lately, and some days are a real struggle. Part of me wants to just dive in and follow a month of the Health-for-Victory's rationing menus. It would be hugely instructive and I wouldn't have to do any planning myself. I don't know if my family would like it though. Some of the recipes, as I've found, are not the most appetizing, but at least they're nutritious.

Anyway, I adore Cooking on a Ration and awhile ago I made a list of all the recipes I was interested in trying. Beef Biscuit Roll was one of these. It's essentially a savory "cinnamon roll" using biscuit dough and ground beef. It doesn't sound that glamorous, but man, it's good!

As you can see - they really do look like cinnamon rolls with ground beef. The filling utilizes ground beef, chopped onions, chopped green peppers, salt and pepper, and I added in minced celery. Any leftover biscuit dough, I rolled up and put in the pan too - just in case my kids didn't like the rolls.

It was a miracle, folks - everyone ate it and liked it! Even my picky 5 year old. I couldn't believe it! Who wouldn't love this stuff - biscuit dough rolled up with that savory filling and a beef gravy with a touch of garlic powder poured over the top. Oh, my! It really was so good!

The only thing I would have done differently would be to put foil on the top near the end of baking to keep the ground beef from becoming too browned since the recipe instructs you to brush oil over the tops.

I used my favorite H-for-V biscuit recipe for the "regulation biscuit dough":

Baking Powder Biscuits 
(1944 H-for-V booklet, Year Round Edition)

2 cups flour (half whole wheat, half unbleached white)
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
4 Tbsp. butter
3/4 c. milk (I had to use coconut milk because we have a milk intolerance in our family.)

Blend dry ingredients, cut in butter. Add milk and combine with a fork just until it comes together. You might need to add a little more milk because the whole wheat flour seems to make it drier. Knead on a floured surface no more than 10-12 strokes. Roll out the dough and proceed with the Beef Biscuit Roll recipe. Don't roll the biscuit dough too thinly - it will tear when you roll it all up.

Here is the recipe for Beef Biscuit Roll! You really have to try this one!

P.S. I was a busy cook yesterday - I even made a rhubarb & berry pie (from our own rhubarb for the first time - yay!) using my newest acquisition - The Joy of Cooking 1945 edition. I am so glad I got this book. It fills in all the gaps of every recipe I could want with all my other ration cookbooks. The pie turned out wonderfully, and the best thing is that I think I found the origin of one of my favorite pies we used to get from an old neighbor lady when I was growing up. I was looking in the index at the back under "Pies" and found it - Pineapple Meringue Pie! Hooray! That pie is so tasty. I'll have to make it and post about it. Hardly anyone has heard of this pie and it really is so yummy. You simply must know how to make it! And I'm happy to share. :-)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Nearly Done... & Ft. Frederick Once Again

I know it's already May and my sewing challenge for April is overdue. I am nearly done with  my son's 18th century breeches. I'm working on covering buttons and sewing them on; there are 13 buttons in all! Which means just as many button holes. *sigh*

After that I need to sew on the leg cuffs, sew on the ties, make and stitch the lacing holes in the back, and finish the seams inside with a simple zigzag stitch on the machine or whip stitch depending on if I feel like hand sewing all that. Then I will be done!

This month's goal is to sew my son's 18th century shirt. I purchased a beautiful blue check linen from Burnley & Trowbridge at the 18th Century Market Fair two weekends ago.

Speaking of Ft. Frederick - I found lots of treasures at my two favorite sutlers: Burnley & Trowbridge and Wm. Booth, Draper. Between the two of them I got more bone buttons, some horn buttons, linen and cotton tapes, light wool for a petticoat for my daughter, checked linen, a few more patterns, and some odds and ends to make myself a housewife sewing kit. I was excited to get A Lady's Guide to Plain Sewing I & II. I'd really like to improve my historical sewing knowledge and skills and these books are a great guide.

One of my favorite sutlers:
Burnley & Trowbridge from Williamsburg, VA

Father & son volunteer drummers at the Fort

This woman is going through black powder musket training as a volunteer.
She was demonstrating the musket for us, but had a few misfires.
Another volunteer came over to help. I had no idea those guns were so finicky!

Me from the fort overlook!
No, I'm not in costume. :-( Maybe next year!

Ft. Frederick always had a guard standing out by the gate.
I love how grumpy he looks. haha!

Hooray! A garbage heap! I always LOVE when they go the extra
mile to have one of these.

A woman was demonstrating her weaving on this small loom.
Her work was absolutely beautiful. She was making mostly sashes.