Welcome back to our Twelve Days of Christmas series here at the Dutch Milliners!
We’ve covered some big gifts and small gifts, but today we are covering something a little less glamorous: practical gifts.
Once you’ve been in “the hobby” for any amount of time, you quickly realize that there are things you simply haven’t the time or the skill to create on your own. I have even come to this realization despite being an avid DIY-er. And I do mean avid.
Additionally, things like jewelry, clothing, and other accessories are highly personal, and as, “there is no accounting for tastes” sometimes it is safest to err on the side of practical when it comes to gift giving.
However, just because something is practical doesn’t mean it has to be boring!!! Here is our list of beautiful and unique, but incredibly useful gifts for the historical interpreter in your life.
For holding things:
You have a lot of stuff. And invariably, there are never enough places to put it. For foodstuffs; crocks, bowls, and basins make de-farbing your outfit a durable and easily rinsable endeavor. This redware from Westmoore Pottery is just too beautiful. Baskets are a lightweight option for storing dry goods, sewing projects, and other containers. Townsends has a simple, but roomy option here.
Money a little tight? One of my favorite tricks for stoneware and basketry is to compile several reference images of 18th century still life and hit up your local second hand stores. You may strike out, but occasionally you can find a really nice piece. Print your reference images, the information nicely printed on the back, and give the gift of documentation this Christmas season.
If you have a little more to spend, this document box from the American Heritage Shop is a great way to hid a little farbery, or protect your reproduction books and journals… or your actual 18th century books. Drool.
For the over-tasked seamstress:
I like to sew.
Even so, sometimes, there are just some small (boring) items I don’t want to take time to sew. Especially when I could be sewing another cupcake gown.
Bumrolls are a really useful garment that are often overlooked by the average interpreter. Aside from improving your 18th century silhouette, bumrolls also help support the weight of numerous petticoats and increase air circulation in the, ahem, nether regions–useful for those toasty July events. The Needle Workers have a very moderate option that will be appropriate for most personas.
Pockets would make my life so much easier, and I completely intend to make a pair with my kit from Wm. Booth Draper.
…have intended to make them for about about six months now. You could save yourself the procrastination battle and just snap this set up from a Fashionable Frolic.
Thread is not glamorous by ANY means, but it is useful. The 60/2 thread from Burnley and Trowbridge is my favorite! Make a little sewing kit out of a spool and one of these sweet little needle cases. A threadwinder and a thimble will round out the gift nicely.
To make camp life a little easier:
Campfires… they can make or break you. Get ahead of the curve with a fire starting kit from the Quarter Master General. Fire tongs can also make your life easier by saving the time you would usually take to find a fire poking stick. Making your coals mobile will also improve the efficiency of your fire.
The Tekla dish towel from IKEA is a VERY inexpensive option for a camp towel. You’ll want to remove the tags and maybe re sew them if you want to avoid machine stitching, but you can’t beat the price.
I ALWAYS want to take my shoes off about halfway through a typical event, and this usually results in me mucking about in my socks.
Choosing a pair of reproduction mules may be a better option. Burnley and Trowbridge has a nice option. Sarah Juniper can make the custom mules of your dreams become a reality.
To make pack up a little easier:
You’re hot, sweaty, and just want to get home. The following items will help reduce the extra 21st century items you have to have on hand, and maybe speed up your exit just a tad!
Patagonia’s classic Baggies shorts are lightweight and quick drying–also elastic waisted–making the quick, cramped quarters change from interpreting duds to civvies a much simpler process. They have options for both men and women. Along those lines, the Outdoor Research Mirage tank top combines both tank top AND bra, minimizing the amount of extraneous items floating around in your overnight “leave it in the car” bag.
Speaking of that bag, having a durable and easy to dig through tote on hand will simplify the pile of necessary farb. Speaking of L.L. Bean, their adventure duffel would be a great option for organizing your garb for the drive in and the drive out.
Smelling a little gamey is just a part of camping out. Spritz your garments down with a natural odor eater, and purchase a shaker of the Dutch Milliners scented body and hair powder! Patting yourself down with this stuff right before bed and also before changing into your going home clothes will greatly improve your mood, and the scent experience of the humans around you. *wink*
Don’t ever let anyone in your life rain on your practical parade, because as this post just proved, basic is sometimes best.
I love me some PSL and Ugg boots, so fight me.
Now, to go convince the family that I really do need that L.L. Bean tote…