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Showing posts from 2015

Introducing... My 2016 Project

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I have felt very put out by not being able to do much sewing last year like I'd wanted. It was very difficult to focus on writing my book and sewing - both very big projects. So, sewing fell into the background, and I got my book finished - which is a good thing! But now, I feel the sewing machine calling me for 2016, and I really want to make some good progress on sewing projects. I've decided to do my best in participating in the Historical Sewing Monthly for 2016. Hopefully, the project will be enough motivation to keep going, since I need to post every month and have a set deadline that's out of my control.
Here are the 2016 challenges with my ideas for each one. The Historicism challenge is a bit mystifying to me, so I'll have to think on that one for awhile. 
The 2016 Challenges:

January –  Procrastination – finish a garment you have been putting off finishing (a UFO or PHD) or make something you have been avoiding starting.
--T’s 18th century shirt (blue check)

Febr…

A Year in Reflection

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It's the end of December and it's raining right now in Maryland. We haven't seen one lick of snow! It's hard to believe this weather we're having, but I'm glad that at least the plants and trees are getting some moisture. :-)

Throughout this past year I've thought often of 2014's project of ration cooking once a week. I miss it. It was an amazing, exciting experience! This isn't saying I'm going to start up the same project again for 2016, but believe me, I'm tempted!

I actually wanted to share how rationing has changed my cooking - in other words which recipes do I use often as a result of trying them once for my project.

So here goes:

1.Baking Powder Biscuits
I first tried a ration biscuit recipe for my Beef & Vegetable Soup Casserole and fell in love with it. Why? It's actually a pretty basic biscuit recipe, but the difference is the fat. Comparing it to my old fave biscuit recipe which has a 1/2 cup butter, the 1943 recipe only …

It's a Wonderful Life!

MerryChristmas!
My husband and I recently celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. As a surprise, he got us tickets to the play "It's a Wonderful Life" put on by the talented Annapolis Shakespeare Company. I'll admit that I've never actually seen the movie! Shocking, I know! I've seen or heard about bits and pieces of it, but the play was my first experience with the full story.

The most fantastic thing about the play was that it was put on like a 1940s radio show where the audience was the studio audience and we had to applause when the applause lights were on and they did sound effects and commercials - the whole shebang! It was phenomenal! I absolutely adored it. Something interesting is that one of the actors was wheelchair bound and it was amazing to watch him maneuver it on stage and use it to his advantage with the stage blocking. Really great stuff! I've never seen anything like that before. The whole play and the actors impressed me, and it ta…

Author Highlight: Temple Bailey

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Time for another author highlight, where I reintroduce the world to a lesser-known or sadly forgotten author!

My best friend, Mairi, who blogs over at Magpie Tidings, introduced me to the wonderful Temple Bailey. She was a prolific author that wrote from 1902 until the late 1940s. Mairi knows infinitely more about Temple Bailey than I do, so I asked if she'd be my guest writer on this one.

Temple Bailey by Mairi  McCloud
It is fascinating to me that authors can be so popular in their own day and age, and yet do not stand the test of time. In some cases this is a good thing, as there were some pretty silly novels produced in the early 20th century. But Temple Bailey’s obscurity is not deserved.    They may not be great epochs, nor scathing social criticisms, but her stories are well written, clean and delightful, and those to whom I have introduced her books have always enjoyed them. She has several strengths that I think could be appreciated by modern audiences still.  Temple Bailey’s…

It's Published!

I did it! My book is finally published. Whew! It is such a relief, and the most amazing, bizarre feeling to see it sitting on the shelf and for sale online. If you're interested you can search for it on Amazon by my author pen name or the title: The War Between Us by Sarah Creviston Lee.

My book is a love story, but it's mainly about the experience of a Korean American young man during WWII. It's a rare topic, and I feel very privileged to have been able to research and write about it. The Korean American wartime experience is so fascinating! Check out my tab above to read more about the book, and to check out some research pins on my Pinterest board.

And like I've said before, I don't plan on using my site to advertise/market my book. This post is just to let you know it's out, and I hope to write more on here in the future on what I learned about the Korean American wartime experience.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

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Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
It's unfortunate, but I think we can to relate to what Americans felt when they heard the news that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. It reminds me of the same things we felt after 9/11 - disbelief, horror, and the utter heartbreak at so much death.

While it is sad and difficult at times, it is good to remember our past. There was so much hate, suspicion, and prejudice as a result of Pearl Harbor. Not just Japanese and Japanese Americans were put into internment camps, but starting the same night of Pearl Harbor, many Germans and Italians in America were arrested and put into camps as well. Anyone who looked Asian, no matter their ethnicity, were hated, ridiculed, and sometimes harmed with violence. There is no doubt it was a terrible and mournful time in our country's history, and we would benefit so much from examining those events and ourselves today. 
I don't think I have to tell you that history repeats itself. We, as humans, ulti…

Book Updates

It's been a little quiet here. I had no idea how intense it would be working on my book's proof edits. (They were a little crazy! Who knew I had so many mistakes?)
I was trying to make it for the December 7th deadline to publish, but it's not going to happen. Ah, well! Hopefully this week at least.

I've decided not to use my blog to promote/sell my book, because I really want to keep this blog not-for-profit. I think it's okay to mention it on here, because it's definitely historically related, ;-) but I won't be putting in a link for the book's Amazon page or anything. You're welcome to search for it on your own.

If you'd like to learn more about my book and the neat history behind some of the things I wrote about, check out the new tab I put up. I've got a link to my pinterest board there.

Thanks for your understanding and I look forward to getting back to normal writing on here once the books is complete! I have lots of projects planned t…

Happy Thanksgiving!

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HAPPYTHANKSGIVING!

I love these Normal Rockwell paintings depicting two very different WWII Thanksgivings. 
I hope your day is filled with family, good food, and many blessings!

Dream Casting

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Today I'm celebrating because I finished all the line edits of my book! It was a mountain of work, but thanks to my awesome family, I plowed through it in 1 week. Hooray! Now all that's left is proofing, last minute little edits, and then I can publish!

So, to celebrate, I thought I'd share my dream casts for my main characters, Alex Moon and Lonnie Hamilton. Exciting!

Picking out faces was something I did at the very beginning of writing my book, The War Between Us. It really helped to have a face I felt came the closest to what I imagined my character looking like. It helped me visualize them in a concrete, realistic way. Unfortunately, my main characters' looks tend to be very allusive to me for much of the writing process - side characters not as much, so having pictures helps as I write.

If my book was to be made into a movie (seriously, that would be so awesome, but also very weird!), I've got just the right people picked out. Here they are:

Alexander Moon
pl…

Books and Fabric

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A friend of mine posted this link from the fabulous website The Art of Manliness. It's a list of the 50 best books for men and boys - such a fabulous list. I'm happy I've read so many of them myself and have gotten my son off to a good start. Check out the list yourself. There are a lot of great ones!

On the subject of fabric, I tried to get a start on some sewing during my writing break, but I just got my line edits back this week, so I didn't make much progress, but I did do some!

 Here's the fabric I'm using for my son's 18th century boy's shirt. It's a blue checked linen. I'm so excited!

I like to take my sewing in steps so it's not so overwhelming. Wash and iron the fabric. Cut out the pattern pieces, pin and cut out the fabric, mark the fabric, then finally sew. It may take me longer, but at least I get it done, step by step!

My fabric pieces are cut out now, but until my book is published, that's the way they'll stay, I'm …

5 Excellent Historical Fiction Books

I was going back through my list of "Read" books on Goodreads and came across a WWII YA Historical Fiction that I had loved, but since forgotten the title of. Then I thought that I should do a list of little-known historical fiction books that I've loved to share with you. The first slot goes to the book that inspired this list.

1. Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman

This book was entrancing to me. It's a book set at the beginning of WWII and takes place in India. It's the story of a girl whose father receives a brain injury and their family must move in with relatives, where things are done differently and are fraught with trials and frustrations. It's such a beautiful, moving book about a part of the world that is rarely talked about in conjunction with the second world war.

2. Death Comes as Epiphany by Sharan Newman

This book is the first in a long mystery series about Catherine LeVendeur, a girl living in 12th century France. She is about to take he…

18th Century Breeches - Completed!!!

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Yes, it's unbelievable, but I finally, finally finished those darn breeches for my son! It's a good thing I made them too big. He keeps growing, but I don't sew any faster. What held me up all these long months, besides working feverishly on my book, was those darn buttons. All 14 of them. I had to cover each bone mold with fabric, then sew it on the breeches, then cut and finish the buttonholes. All 14 of them!!! It was tedious, but I'm sure you've gotten the clue already. :-)
I'm pretty proud of them overall. I'm always a little astonished at the end of any pants/trouser/breeches making, because they seem like such a difficult piece of clothing to make, but somehow they turn out in the end. And they look like pants!

My son is so thrilled. When I showed him the finished breeches, he smiled and said, "Good! Are you going to finish my shirt soon?" Ugh. Poor kid. He's had to wait ages. The shirt is the next hurdle. Every time I look at the patt…

WWII Fun & Awe

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I had a couple links to share that I've come across recently.

One is for a Studio C comedy sketch set in WWII. It's pretty funny!



And second is this photographer, Marc Wilson's work capturing abandoned WWII military structures throughout Europe. Haunting, but beautiful too. Click here to check out the amazing photos.

A Wartime Halloween

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I was just talking to my dad today who lives in Des Moines, Iowa. We were talking about Halloween and he mentioned that they celebrated Beggars' Night yesterday. Apparently, in Des Moines they don't have trick o' treating, but do "tricks for treats" where the kids have to perform something like a silly, ghostly joke or pun. The change was made in the 1930s to discourage all the horrible Halloween pranking going on and to put the focus on the kids having to do something for the candy they were receiving instead.

There's a nice article about it over at the Des Moines Register. Click here to read the full article by Kelsey Batschelet. Here's a neat little snippet from the article relating to WWII:

"Beggars' Night gained traction, and in 1942 it was promoted as a way for children to play a part in the war effort. The rallying headline, “Kids! - Don’t help the Axis on Halloween,” topped an Oct. 29, 1942 Des Moines Register article. The piece referenc…

Breather

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This little break from writing or editing or worrying about my book has been wonderful! At first I didn't know what to do with myself. The day after I sent my completed content edits to my editor I started to reread my book from the start and my husband reminded me that I needed to take a break. I was stubborn at first, but eventually came 'round to his wisdom.

I've gotten in a lot of pleasure reading including some WWII fiction and 1940s magazines. I've had lots of fun pinning hoards of 1940s and other era clothing on my Pinterest boards. I even went antiquing and bought a working 1950s chrome toaster with bakelite handles (my kids like toast now!), a 1930s double waffle iron (still need to clean it so we can make some smashing waffles), and a working 1940s AM shortwave radio. SO thrilled about that sweet little find!

Then my best friend, Mairi, came for a visit and we visited oodles of fun places like Mt. Vernon (George Washington's home), Gettysburg and it'…

The Heartbreak of Museums

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Now that the content edits on my book are done, I have a little breather room to think of other things for a few weeks besides editing - like sewing (fingers crossed!) and catching up on my blog.

I had fully intended to write about a few museums I revisited when our family took a summer trip to my home state of Indiana, but finishing my book took priority and I was also procrastinating.

I'll be honest. I was really discouraged just thinking about writing about the museums mainly because I was severely let down by one museum I've always held very close to my heart. From the time I worked there to the present day, it has, in my opinion, strayed from its once shining path in museum progressiveness and excellence. It's been hard to even think of writing about it. I've debated back and forth over whether I should lay it all out, where they're going wrong, to remind them of what they once stood for. I don't know if that would be beneficial or not. I'm sure I onl…

WWII Ration Recipe - Tamale Pie Special

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Yes, I've been a bit silent on here for awhile. I'm in the thick of my book edits, and boy are they hairy! I'm having to rearrange a few scenes, cut some chapters out, etc. Oh, the headache!

Despite the writing craziness, I've had the chance to cook another WWII ration recipe recently for Tamale Pie. It's from a newly acquired, rather fun-looking ration cookbook published in 1943 called Coupon Cookery by Prudence Penny. Ha!


I just love the cover. Very patriotic and colorful!

The book is filled with clever, snappy little rhymes, including the foreword. Isn't it fun?


The Table of Contents is revealing. Chapters include "How to Use Ration Books", "Home-Tried Victory Menus" (including shopping lists), "Quantities to Serve Fifty", "Meeting the Meat Problem", "The New Slants on Salads", and "Storing the Victory Harvest". Interesting stuff! This book seemed to be doing it all from helping with ration points, …

The War Between Us Cover Reveal!

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The time has finally come to reveal the cover for my first book!


The War Between Us is an historical fiction set in 1940s wartime Indiana. Look for the book's debut December 2015!


Alex Moon is not the enemy.

Six months after Pearl Harbor's tragedy, Korean American Alex Moon is sent away from his home in California for refusing his father's request to join the fight against the Japanese. On his journey, Alex is attacked and stranded in the small town of River Bluff, Indiana. To everyone else, he looks like America's most hated enemy. 

Unexpectedly, Alex is befriended by a local girl, Lonnie Hamilton, who comes to his defense, saving him from doubt and despair while placing herself in the cross hairs of prejudice. Alex falls in love with his ally---a love that is clearly forbidden. Torn between his dual identities, Korean and American, and grappling with how everyone sees him, Alex must wage the war within himself---of defending who he is, resolving his tortured feelings abo…

1945 Banana Bread

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I had some ripe bananas on hand and thought I'd try another ration recipe for Banana Bread. The one I picked out wasn't a ration recipe, per se, but it comes from my 1945 Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book that has a wartime insert. This recipe comes from the regular portion of the book, but I think it's ration recipe worthy. Except for the banana part. haha! Those were hard to come by during the war.

This week I'm trying to go without white or brown sugar, so I substituted honey with an addition of a 1/4 tsp. of baking soda. I thought it was interesting that the recipe called for 1 cup of bran. I had oat bran on hand and used that. I also used 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup white.

As it baked, it filled our house with amazing banana bread smells!

The bread tasted wonderful - not too sweet and with a fantastic, large crumb. I liked the added texture from the bran. Yummy all around! I didn't add nuts. I'm not always a fan of that in quick breads, but …

V-Mail

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I've been excited to post about this topic for awhile. I first learned about V-, or Victory, Mail while doing research for my book. It opened up a whole new aspect of homefront life I had never heard about before!

V-Mail is so fascinating. It was a solution to a major problem - the weight and volume of thousands upon thousands of letters crisscrossing the ocean from soldiers and their families during the war. The British had come up with a solution: a method of photographing letters onto microfilm reels and shipping those instead of the actual letters. The result was drastically reduced weight and volume that the letters usually took up in cargo planes and ships. The United States adopted this same method in June 1942. In some instances, the V-Mail letters traveled faster than usual as is advertised in some poster ads.

I found some V-Mail for sale on ebay and wasn't sure what to get, but I came across several lots of letters from the same woman from Lima, OH, who was a prolifi…