Gifts for the Kitchen

We’re wrapping up our Twelve Days of Christmas Shopping here with a rundown of our favorite things to use while cooking, whether it be hearthside or at an encampment these are some of the goodies we’d love to see under the Christmas tree.

Let’s start small with some stocking stuffers like these whisks from Dobyns & Martin, Grocers. They’re perfect for whipping up delicious gravies and sauces no matter where you are! An avid cook might also enjoy some of the many spices available at Dobyns & Martin, Grocers. A couple of them added to a stocking would be a nice addition to a whisk or buy a handful of seasonings to keep in one of my favorite kitchen items.

Goose Bay Workshops has everything you could possibly desire to outfit an 18th Century kitchen. From chocolate pots to sausage Stuffers they really do have it all. My favorite product by far is the spice box based on German and European examples. It holds about 4 whole cups of spices in individual little containers and my favorite part, the center provides room for a tiny nutmeg grater and whole nutmeg! I had the pleasure of using one of these at the Dollinger Farm encampment this past October and have been drooling over them ever since. So seriously you can get anything you want from Goose Bay, so take some time to peruse their site.

I like to bake and to me the ultimate in period cooking is baking without a modern oven. These cake rings from Hot Dip Tin paired with their baking sheet would be perfect for trying your hand at baking up some sweet treats.

If you’re working on a slightly smaller budget you might consider looking at Jas Townsend and their selection of affordable cookware. Although I don’t recommend them for clothing and gear their cookware is perfect for those just starting out.

If you’re anything like me and enjoy things that are both functional and pretty you need to check out these pottery makers. Local to the Dutch Milliners here in Ohio is Common Ground Pottery by Amanda Lipp. While she doesn’t have an online site you can email her at She makes some of the most amazing reproduction sgraffito pottery I’ve seen! Another favorite pottery maker of mine is J. Henderson Artifacts out of Indiana. They have some great jugs, crocks, and mugs but my favorite thing they offer, totally non cooking related is the bourdaloue.

So all of this talk of cooking and food has made me a bit hungry so what better time to wrap this up. We’ll be back here later to end our shopping series with our favorite gifts to give this holiday season.

– Brittany


Fabulous Gifts for the Fashionable


We’re down to just a few more days here of our Christmas shopping countdown for the Twelve Days of Christmas series and today we’re covering pretty gifts for the fashionable folks on your list.

For those fashionably inclined friends there is nothing more welcome than gift cards for some fabulous fabric retailer because let’s face it silk is kind of pricey. Aside from Burnley & Trowbridge Co. and Wm. Booth, Draper I love the selection of high end fabrics from Mood Fabrics, straight out of the fashion district in NY y’all so you know they have some of the best.

As every fashionista knows what good is silk for a new outfit without some gorgeous shoes to pair with it? I’m head over heels, pun intended, for the selection of beautiful shoes from American Duchess. In fact the new style of Dunmore’s are on my Christmas list, who can resist oxblood trimmed in white leather? While you’re there pick up a pair of silk clocked stockings available in dyeable cream or pretty sky blue, because if you buy new shoes you must have new stockings.

IMG_3603From head to toes we have you covered! This black silk bonnet from FashionsRevistedUS on Etsy is a frothy confection of silk ribbon inspired by the Pretty Mantua Maker print and sure to please any lady on your list. If bonnets aren’t your style perhaps this divine black straw bergere trimmed with a canary yellow vintage velvet ribbon and silk poppy flower is more to your tastes? The gent on your list might appreciate a new hat in the most Fashionable style. I’ve heard great things from hatters Geo. Franks and M. Brenckle.

For both the gents and ladies of fashion you can never go wrong with new sleeve buttons (cufflinks) K. Walters At the Sign of the Gray Horse has a wonderful selection of designs perfect for every occasion, I’m quite fond of this flashy rhinestone flower set. Another perfect gift from K. Walters are these Georgian watch strings or watch fobs, tasteful and the perfect accessory for every outfit.

For many a gentry, a walking stick is not merely a practical item but a fashionable accessory to show off. I’d love to see more gentlemen dandies strolling through gardens with one of these from Fashionable Canes.

New clothes, check.
Fabulous shoes, check.
Hats and bonnets, check.
Divine accessories, check.

IMG_3604Last on our list to look fierce? The wonderful selection of historical cosmetics from LBCC Historical! Look your best with some rouge and colored hair powder, my personal favorite is pink! Your best bet for fun tinted hair is to style with pomatum and white powder, afterwards set your style and add a bit of flair with colored hair powder. The tinted powder shows up perfect on already powdered hair, with subsequent powdering to darken the color tint. You’ll look fabulous!

This year give the gift of fashion.



Gifts for the Littles

It’s day… well I don’t know what day it is, but we’re here again to share with you some of our favorite businesses in the living history community just in time for Christmas. Today we’re supposed to be talking about gifts for the Fops and Fashionista’s but I made an executive decision to change it up after realizing we had left out some of our smallest living historians so close to Christmas! So today I’m going to dish on the best gifts for Littles of all ages.

So earlier we shared a DIY gift post that had some great ideas for the little ones on your list, if you missed that check it out here. Today I’ll add a few more DIY gifts and then some nice, already made stuff too. Jumping right into it here with a tutorial on baby and toddler clothes by Sharon Burnston. These make the perfect gift for the youngest members of the family, especially considering how quickly they grow! Each garment goes together quickly and requires minimal fabric so they’re the perfect quick gift whether it be Christmas or a baby shower!

Another good clothing idea for kids is shoes, again because they’re always growing out of them. If you have an older kid who’s not growing as quickly Burnley & Trowbridge have beautiful, quality leather children’s shoes. If your kids are on the younger side and still going through a shoe size every few months I’d recommend a nice pair of black leather jazz shoes paired with black stockings. They’re a great compromise if you don’t want to drop $100 on shoes. I bought black leather jazz shoes from Payless on sale for only $19.99, plus I used a coupon. Can’t beat those savings!

As for stockings, because they make a great addition to new shoes, I usually look in the girls section of stores like Target and The Children’s Place for knee high tight knit cotton stockings/socks or for younger children I like to get cotton knit tights like these from Gap.

Another great clothing gift for kids are head coverings like caps, straw hats, and cocked hats for little boys. I’m loving the hand blocked wool felt boys hat available from Penny River on Etsy.

So, if your kids are anything like mine they probably aren’t too thrilled with receiving clothes for Christmas; so let’s take a look at some of my favorite toys for gift giving. Nothing beats carved, wooden animals softly sanded for little hands.

The adorable wooden horse on wheels by ArksandAnimals on Etsy is just perfect for the youngest living historians. Completely non toxic and without any small pieces you couldn’t ask for a better heirloom quality gift. For preschoolers and young children I’m partial to the small sets of carved animals like those by WoodpeckerForKids on Etsy or this sweet set of carved and painted oxen based on the team at Conner Prairie Living History Farm by ImaginationKids on Etsy.

Older children may enjoy a set of tin soldiers to play with, I know my oldest would love the George Washington On the Move set by ColDavidsMinatureMen on Etsy or perhaps a children’s drum from Cooperman paired with lessons from the local music store or university? Although if you live in a colder climate during the winter you might want to reconsider if you’re willing to sacrifice a little bit of your sanity for your little one to enjoy the gift of music 😉

Though my children are relatively young I’ve found that the simple toys and gifts of our past tend to keep them entertained far longer than the latest must have toy that requires 27484 batteries and makes the world’s most obnoxious sound. Simple wooden figurines, dolls, and even the cup and ball game can give modern children hours of enjoyment and a chance to stretch their often underused imaginations. I sincerely hope you enjoy some of my favorite gifts for the Littles and may consider them for keeping yours occupied at upcoming events.

– Brittany


Stays on a Budget

Stays on a budget, can it be done? Yes! Stays are the next layer of undergarments we ladies should be wearing at events. Plain and simple, most of the recommended patterns aren’t going to work without them and getting that 18th Century silhouette will be nigh impossible. So what’s the scoop on stays?

What are they: Stays are a basic 18th century undergarment that aids in support of the body and outer garments and gently shapes the body into the desired silhouette for the time. Stays during this time were not restrictive in that women could haul water, chop wood, and tend children with ease. They did not function to minimize waist size, they were merely shapewear ala modern Spanx. They gently flatten your tummy and put The Girls in their place. Stays were vital for supporting heavy layers of outer wear; multiple petticoats, pockets, aprons, and all sorts of things are tied and tacked to a woman’s waist and that adds a lot of weight to the hips. A little bit of support can go a long way there.

Who wore them: Everyone. Women of all ages and social classes would have worn stays, yes even the women of the lowest classes and those who lived on the western edges of the frontier. Charitable campaigns were set up to help make stays for the most destitute of women and the secondhand clothing market was flourishing making stays accessible to all women. Even children, including young boys, wore stays to help encourage good posture and correct growth – but we’ll save that for another post.

What are they made of: Layers of linen with reed or whalebone (baleen) were most common but we do see plenty of examples of stays with other outer fabrics like wool and silk. Modern day reproductions are best made from layers of linen with German artificial whalebone which is a thin plastic, sturdier than other plastics like Rigilene but without the weight of steel. We do see quite a few women using traditional reed for their stays today with great success and at a less costly investment than the artificial whalebone.

What pattern should I use: If you have the money to spare opt for the Larkin & Smith front and back lacing stays pattern. The pattern is based on the latest research on 18th Century stays and is chock full of information. The instructions for the pattern come in a highly detailed spiral bound book and include everything you need to complete your stays, so simple a beginner can do it – so really there is no excuse for not having stays. Given that this pattern is as close to attending a workshop as you can get we think it’s worth every bit of the $28 price tag. So when it comes to working with a budget a good pair of stays should make the top of the list. Other patterns to consider include the JP Ryan back lacing stays pattern, the new Simplicity by American Duchess stays pattern, and the Red Threaded back lacing stays pattern. If you’d like to try your hand at grading up a pattern there are a number of stays patterns available for free! Check out this blog by Tea in a Teacup for a great rundown on working with the stays pattern from Norah Waughs Corsets and Crinolines.

So back to the original question, can a pair of stays be made on a budget? Yes and quite easily, might I add. Stays are a relatively small garment so finding linen at a thrift shop or remnant sale is a great place to start, my stays were made using an Irish linen tablecloth purchased from Goodwill for only $2.50. There are generally two to three layers that make up stays. Many people have used cotton duck canvas to act as the sturdy interior layer of the stays and pieced the lining with linen when working on a budget. I opted for the duck canvas ($3.99) for my stays interior and then pieced in the linen with leftover tablecloth pieces. Boning can be the most expensive part in a set of stays, especially if you opt for a fully boned set like I did. I wanted to try the artificial whalebone but it was a little out of my budget at the time I made my stays so I did a little bit of research and found a lot of costumers were using zip ties. I ended up purchasing plastic zipties in two different weights and widths from my local hardware store to use as boning, I think they cost about $6.99 total. For notions and what not I lucked into linen cordage and tape at our local Hobby Lobby, both on sale for half off only costing me a couple bucks total.

When it came to the pattern I dug through my stash and decided to try out the American Duchess pattern 8162 that Simplicity had produced. I had previously purchased it for fun when it was on sale at Joann Fabrics for .99¢. I knew going into the project that the pattern as is printed wouldn’t give me the HA look I wanted so I printed out the series of hacks Lauren from American Duchess put out to work through. Hindsight 20/20 I would have just ordered the Larkin & Smith pattern and started from that. My stays are functional but they don’t give me the support I need and the fit isn’t quite there despite doing a mock up, having the fitting tips and knowledge offered in the L&S pattern could have saved me having to make another set of stays.Design

So the takeaway, if you’re a woman, portraying a woman, you need stays. They aren’t difficult to make, even for beginners, and they don’t require a lot of materials. When trying to work on a budget opt for the best quality pattern you can afford and go from there. Thrift shops and remnant sales are perfect for finding the little bit of material you need and cable ties/zip ties are a great alternative to german artificial whalebone.

IMG_3597So ladies happy thrifting! We’ll be back after the holidays with the next installation of our Thrifty Reenactress blog series, plenty of time to get a head start on those stays. Don’t forget about our contest! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram with your budget wardrobe creations for a chance to win one of three prizes like this signature Dutch Milliners hair dressing set.





Gear and Gadgets

Welcome back! After a stint with the stomach flu we’ve hit the ground running and have a couple posts to share with you to make up for those days I slacked off. Earlier this weekend Hayley shared a great rundown of practical gifts for those on your shopping list. These are the 18th Century versions of chocolates and candles, things you can never really go wrong with. Today’s list will have a lot of crossover items that are practical but are considered by some to be the gold standard for gear. These are going to be top quality leather goods, hats, canteens, and other such accoutrement.

Give the gift of warmth with a quality handwoven blanket from Rob Stone or T&R Quednau Hand Weaving. Functional works of art, these gorgeous blankets are worth every penny.

Sally Pointer Stockings

South Union Mills and Sally Pointer are two places to get some of the best knitted stockings in the hobby. I love the large selection of knitted hats available at South Union Mills and the “Bees Knees” Stocking by Sally Pointer is one of my favorite wool stockings.

Looking for something to gift to the friend who’s a little more gearcentric? Try S. Pekar, Shoe and Accoutrement Maker. He offers high quality cartridge pouches and belting along with other leather goods some of which can be seen in the newly opened Museum of the American Revolution. All of his work is based on some of the best documentation out there and yet again well worth every penny.

Perhaps a new canteen is needed? While us ladies don’t carry a canteen, we’ve done our research and have heard that Eric Swanson is about the best you can get as far as wooden canteens with Hot Dip Tin being a good source for tin canteens. We’re also a huge fan of Hot Dip Tins camp kettles and their large selection of tin cups and cookware.

Credit: Hoffman’s Reproductions

Almost all guys enjoy the gift of cool sharp, shiny things; I know my husband is no different. I’ve personally had the opportunity to see and handle some of the excellent axes and knives offered by Ben Hoffman of Hoffman Reproductions. He’s a relative newcomer to the community of 18th century craftsmen but his stuff is top notch. Another Hoffman to check out is Jymm of Hoffman’s Forge. He makes some beautiful museum quality products, my favorite being his reproduction gardening tools! Who knew a shovel could make such an awesome gift?

well I think that about wraps it up for today’s Christmas Shopping post, til tomorrow folks.






“There is no accounting for tastes.”

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…


DIY 18th Century Powder Brush


Hey everyone thanks for being patient with us as illness has taken over the Frederick household staying on top of blog posts and writing hasn’t been at the top of the list, sorry guys! To make up for the lack of content we have a great post from guest writer Bryn Kelley which ties in perfectly with our two series we’re running right now, The Twelve Days of Christmas Shopping and our Thrifty Reenactress series. Without further ado…

DIY Historically Accurate (Hair) Powder Brush

Raise your hand if you want big hair! So you have your hair powder, which you can make for cheap, you have a way to store it, but how do you actually apply it?

With a powder brush!

image3Now the big question is getting a historically accurate powder brush without breaking the bank. I am always looking for a bargain, in all aspects of life, I was at Marshalls shopping deals when inspiration for this project struck. I saw a small powder brush that only had a tiny aluminium handle that could easily be covered, the price made it sweeter, only four dollars.

(Powder brush before historically inspired makeover)


The trick with extant powder brushes is that wood 1512941549951and animal hair are two of the most susceptible materials to moisture and pest deterioration. To study brushes of the time therefore requires studying images, paintings and prints that show women at their toilette. The image here shows a brush that I used as my model for my brush handle.

Block not yet in the round

Now the actual work begins! I started with some oak I happened to have from making tent poles in a previous project. I hate how hard the wood was, but it was nice because A.) I owned it already and B.) it was almost in the round. I had to glue the two scraps I had together so I used Gorilla glue because of the durability. Then I was ready to roll!

I started out hand sanding, intending to whittle to taper the handle. I quickly regretted the choice of oak. I am not one to back down; I simply get creative. I rigged a lathe of sorts and started sanding with 80-grit to get it into the round. Fast-forward to getting it rounded, next step is tapering it down so it is actually usable. Sadly I did not take any pictures before it was tapered, but it generally looked like a dowel. If you want to not hate yourself during this I recommend finding inch and a half dowel of a wood.

Block tapered and sanded

This next part was the trickiest part, drilling out the indent for the actual brush to get set into. The trickiest part of this was the fact that since the wood now had a finish sanding on it I did not want to mar the wood, so attempting to use the drill press with the narrow end of the handle at the base. I got some help from a second set of hands. Here is another time where I wish I had used one-piece dowel-rod, since mine was pieced together the bore bit did not like the joints, skipping multiple times. In the end I needed to use the Dremmel a little and ended up cobbling it together successfully. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of this step either.

Final step! Now to set the brush into the handle. I used E6000 glue to set it but you could epoxy or super glue. The E6000 took up the extra space I had from the bit being too big.

Here’s the final product!



Bryn Kelley

Handmade with Love – DIY Gifts to Give

Today’s theme for our Twelve Days of Christmas Shopping series is all about handmade gifts from the heart. Having three children I do a lot of hands on projects with them and Pinterest has become my favorite place to find ideas. Last year Santa brought them some homemade holiday scented play dough that they still love to use. This got me thinking, so many of the things we use and need in this hobby can be made at home, so what better way to check off your shopping list than making gifts yourself?

IMG_3571Let’s jump right in with where we left off yesterday, DIY earthenware marbles for children. There are dozens of homemade clay recipes out there so if you have a favorite go with that, but this recipe from Savvy Homemade is currently my favorite tutorial for making your own clay marbles. Unpainted marbles left in their natural shades of red, brown, and white seem to be the most common kinds typical of the 18th century but feel free to paint your marbles if you’d like. Sew up a small linen sack with a drawstring to hold your marbles and you have the perfect gift for your little living historians. Just for fun we’re going to give you a free download of marble games to enjoy those homemade marbles even more!

Another great DIY gift for kids of all ages, that is seldomly seen at events, paper kites! We all have heard the story of how Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity by flying a kite during a thunderstorm, but did you know that kite flying was a common pastime of Georgian children? Check out this amazing tutorial from PBS on how to recreate your own 18th Century paper kite and then head over here and here to get some inspiration from some recreated Georgian kites.

Next gift is a a simple project perfect for the ladies on your list, 18th Century mitts. Even if you don’t live in a cooler climate these mitts are perfect for preventing sunburn in the scorching summer heat. Silk, wool, or linen are great options for these mitts and if you really wanted to cheat you could assemble everything needed for making the mitts and present them as a DIY kit, perfect for that friend who enjoys sewing. Check out the tutorial here.

Our next DIY gift is for the knitters out there. Check out these great, free patterns on Ravelry from Colleen Humphreys! She has shared patterns for both a Monmouth cap and a striped 18th century knitted cap as well as a new test pattern for 18th Century military mitts.

1512577804783Next DIY gift is for those arts and crafts people. I love those Fashionable Lover’s Eye jewelry and miniature portraits and thought it would be great to have my very own of some of my favorite people but without the price tag of a custom piece. Check out these picture frame pendants with glass covers from indi-pendants by Solid Oak. All you need to do is draw and paint (or print if you’re artistically challenged) a miniature or detail of a beloveds eye and then follow the directions on the pendant packaging. Add a pretty ribbon and they’re perfect for gift giving (or keeping)! I created one using ink, watercolor, and acrylic with a detail of JJ Feild’s, Major Andre from AMCs TURN, eye for my very own nerdy fan jewelry.

IMG_3576Our last DIY gift suggestion comes from Isis Wardrobe and the Toilet of Flora. 18th Century hair powder can be super easy to make with just regular household ingredients and makes a great gift when presented in a pretty box or shaker. Use it for dressing hair at events and as dry shampoo when you’re too busy to wash your hair daily, so it’s multipurpose! Picking up a few ingredients like alkanet root, cochineal, jojoba oil, and beeswax from Amazon or speciality shops and you can make quite a few different goodies listed in the Toilet of Flora. My personal favorites are lip salves and pomatums.

These are just a handful of great DIY gift ideas to get you started, but the sky’s the limit. Chances are if you can think of something there is probably a tutorial already out there on Pinterest!



18th Century Stocking Stuffers


Today’s theme for day five of our Twelve Days of Christmas Shopping is Stocking Stuffers! We have a whole bunch of goodies lined up that are just the perfect size for stocking, yet don’t compromise in quality. Let’s dive right in!

Photo Credit: LBCC Historical

First on our list are some things for the ladies, such as these sample size historical floral waters and 1772 Sweet Smelling Perfume both from LBCC Historical and available on Etsy. Check out their large assortment of historical cosmetics and hair products, including modern hair supports and men’s styling products.

Next on our list is a pocket embroidery kit from Penny River available on Etsy. Each kit contains Irish linen for a pocket, embroidery hoop, crewel wool thread and directions. We think these kits are perfect to take along to events when you have down time.

Maybe embroidery isn’t your thing, playing cards and games of wit and skill were common ways to pass the time. We like the selection of playing cards, dice, and small portable games like tic tac toe that are available from Samson Historical. Be sure to pick up a copy of their card and dice games book which includes rules for 14 different card and dice games.

Looking for more reading materials, check out the large selection of pamphlets available from Common Hands Studio. Small pamphlets make great stocking stuffers and travel easy making them perfect for reading at events.

For the gentlemen (and ladies) who prefer to enjoy a nice pipe once in awhile, a pipe tamper from Rams Horn Studio might be the perfect little gift! They have a large selection of reproduction tampers including many popular bawdy tampers. A fun and useful gift like this wouldn’t be complete without a new pipe to add to it.

I’ll admit I’m not an avid pipe smoker but I do enjoy and occasional pipe here and there. My husband on the other loves him some pipe tobacco. I love the selection of pipes found at Penn Valley Pipes. They have a large selection of white, black, and marble clay pipes in a variety of styles including Dutch, English, and German. My personal favorite pipes are those of Markus Fohr, a German pipe maker who uses molds (some over 240 years old) as well as traditional hand rolling methods to create gorgeous pipes.


Kids on your list? Check out these hornbooks from Patriot Horns, perfect for stockings. These museum quality hornbooks are the perfect addition to any little ones kit and can help keep them entertained for hours. Another option for hornbooks with a large selection of styles and lower price point come from ABC Hornbooks. If reading won’t keep them occupied perhaps try marbles! Clay marbles were a classic kids toy with dozens of games surrounding their use. Common earthenware marbles made from white or red/brown clay were a popular kids toy during the 18th century. Pick up a bag from Historical Twist, buy small lot of original earthenware marbles online via Etsy and eBay, or check back tomorrow and we’ll link to a tutorial to DIY your own.

IMG_3554And what stocking would be complete without an orange and a chocolate bar? Pick up some delicious 18th Century style chocolate perfect for snacking or making traditional hot chocolate. We love Dobyns & Martin, Grocers 1751 recipe chocolate bar and have heard great things about American Heritage Chocolate available through historic sites such as  Monticello and Fort Ticonderoga. Not traveling anytime soon? Order your chocolate online here.

I think that about wraps up today’s post with some of our favorite stocking stuffers for living history lovers. Tomorrow’s post will be all about handmade gifts, a lot of them are perfect for children and some are simple recipes to share. Thanks for stopping by!

Gifts for the Research Lover

Today marks day three of our Twelve Days of Christmas Shopping series and we’ve come up some things that are perfect for those on your list who are fond of long hours of research and the little details that really make up a great impression. Let’s not waste anymore time and jump right into it!

We’ll start off with the obvious perfect choice – books! My personal favorite, which I consider my 18th Century Women’s clothing bible is”Wives, Slaves, and Servant Girls” written by Don Hagist. Just a quick thumbing over and it’s easy to tell why this book is a crowd pleaser. Hagist has taken ads from across the colonies of runaway women from the last half of the 18th century and compiled them into an easy to read format. The back portion of the book contains a great glossary of terms perfect for understanding the wide range of fabrics available for clothing during this time. This book is a perfect use of primary resources for building a woman’s kit. You can pick this up at Wm. Booth, Draper as well as Amazon and other major book retailers online.

IMG_3548Another choice for the ladies, newly released by Lauren from The American Duchess and Abby Cox, “The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking: How to Hand Sew Georgian Gowns and Wear Them With Style” . We haven’t had an opportunity to get our hands on this book first hand yet but the reviews have been very positive. The book appears to follow in the style of Lauren’s blog The American Duchess with its laid back, friendly approach very similar to the numerous tutorials she has shared over the years. From what we’ve seen we’re excited about the detailed construction and technique steps as well as the gridded patterns for four gowns and their accessories. You can pick up a signed copy straight from the American Duchess site or online at Amazon and other major book retailers.

A few more book suggestions, because you can never have too many. We really like the sounds of “Journal of the Public Store at Williamsburg 1775-1776” by Gregory Sandor which gives us a detailed look into the supplies used early on during the American Revolution. You can find a copy at Wm. Booth, Draper for $40.

IMG_3549A couple favorites for those interested in textiles, “Threads of Feeling: The London Foundling Hospitals Textile Tokens, 1740-1770” by John Style and “Swatches: A Guide to Choosing 21st Century Fabrics for 18th Century Clothing” by Hallie Larkin are both wonderful options. You can read full descriptions or purchase at Wm. Booth, Draper.

Our last gift idea comes from At the Sign of the Black Bear and is perfect for men, women, civilian and military alike. Pocket trash sets make a great personal addition to someone’s kits and no two are ever a like. Finally an interesting answer for the frequently asked question, “what’s in your pocket, bag, wallet, etc.” Pocket trash sets are available starting at $25, please send inquiries to

Photo Credit: B. Charlton, At the Sign of the Black Bear

We could have list a dozen books and some other goodies that will overlap our other days but we decided to cut this post a little short. Check back tomorrow for our Day Four post chock full of stocking stuffers!