Coming Back To LA…

It’s been a long day flying back to LA from Virginia (actually Washington/Dulles)- The flight for Denver was scheduled for 5 am which meant that I had to be at the airport sometime between 3 and 4 am (which in turn meant that I had to actually wake up around 2 am). Dulles Airport is huge, now imagine it with almost zero people. Weird. After enduring the usual TSA protocols and waiting, I was finally aboard and headed west to Denver. Since the plane was mercifully empty, I was actually able to get comfortable and catch up on some sleep during the 3 1/2 hour flight.

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Denver was COLD and rainy- fortunately, I didn’t have to go outside but I could feel the cold plenty as I exited the plane. It’s been awhile, to say the least- I’ve been dealing with temperatures in the 90s and 100s for so long that I forgot what anything else is like. 🙂

Heading southwest out of the Denver towards Burbank, the weather improved a bit and the sun came out…

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And then for a short hop over the Rockies…

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And finally landing at Hollywood-Burbank (aka Bob Hope) Airport where I’d started from some four days before…

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And what was the fashion of the day, you might ask? Jeans, T-shirt, and overshirt. Yeah, nothing fancy and meant solely for practicality. Unfortunately, the nature of modern day air travel doesn’t really allow for anything else…certainly not this…

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And as for meals, it’s not this…

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But this… 🙂

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But we make things work as elegantly as possible and that’s our motto here at Lily Absinthe! 🙂

 

 

Off To Virginia…

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Lately it seems that my weekends have been a blur of activity and this coming weekend is no exception. Today, I’m catching a plane for Dulles/Washington DC to participate in a WWII Era event at the Americans in Wartime Museum (aka “The Tank Farm”) in Nokesville, Virginia. I’ll be falling in with a living history group portraying the 26th US Cavalry, Philippine Scouts who will be portraying late 1941/early 1942. Previously, I’d worked with a number of the group’s members at a previous living history event in Columbus, New Mexico in March 2016 and had a good time with them, so I thought that I’d return them the favor. I’ll be on my own for this one and from a fashion perspective, the order of the day is the US summer uniform for officers. 🙂

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It won’t the typical sort of WWII event in that we’ll be portraying some of the last days of mounted cavalry. I’ve already shipped the bulk of my equipment so there’s not a whole lot of baggage to deal with so that’s a plus. Unfortunately, there’s no direct flight (change planes in Denver) so it’s going to be a long day travelling. Fortunately, I’ll have some time to recover before actually starting the event itself Friday afternoon.

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The Old And The New…

This sort of an event is a bit out of my normal zone when it comes to living history but I’m open to doing something different (2017 has been a year of changes and new things, to be sure). However, the idea of getting back on a horse and doing cavalry is just too powerful so there it is. 🙂 I’ll post some pictures when I have more so stay tuned!

Back From Pennsylvania…

I completely admit that this post is bit tardy, considering that I attended this event back in April, so I apologize for the lateness of this post…enjoy!


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Recently I took a break from the usual round of activities to travel back east to Newville, Pennsylvania to attend the Great War Association’s (GWA) Spring 2017 battle event. For those of you who may not know, the GWA is an umbrella organization for First World War reenacting that draws reenactors from all over the nation (and even Canada) and they sponsor two events yearly at their site in Newville, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. Events typically draw anywhere from 300 to over 600 reenactors (Fall is typically the better attended event). The site itself is a small-scale recreation of a First World War battlefield complete with shell craters, trenches, bunkers, and even burnt-out buildings- it’s truly a “reenactor’s reenactment”.

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Here I am looking all heroic and all…

I’ve been involved in the First World War reenacting for over 20 years and I have always meant to participate in a GWA event but, as usual, life usually got in the way until this Spring when I decided that I needed a small break from the usual so off I went. The logistics of getting there was interesting to work out, especially since I’d never been there before, but in the end it all worked out. I found that flying into Baltimore was the most practical- there are cheap non-stop flights available on Southwest Airlines and rental cars are easy to arrange at affordable prices (of course, it’s even cheaper if you’re traveling with others). Finally, I was able to get a couple of good motel rates for before and after the event itself- it pays to book early. 🙂

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We three Bavarians…

Weather-wise, Pennsylvania presented a bit of a contrast to what I am used to in Southern California- it was warm and humid  during the day (and really warm when the sun would come out) combined with the occasional shower. At night, the temperature would drop almost 20 to 30 degrees and on the last night of the event, it was freezing. In many ways, this mirrored the actual Western Front experience although we only had to “endure” for two days.

So, what’s the clothing tie-in? I thought  you’d never ask…well, in contrast to what I normally deal in, the order of the day is wool…lots of wool in shades of feldgrau and steingrau. Below is feldgrau as defined by the RAL color standard (RAL is the German color standard that was initially developed in 1927 and is the equivalent of the American Federal Color Standard System). Below is the RAL standard for feldgrau:

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And for steingrau:

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Of course, color standards are only an approximation and especially since it was developed after the First World War. Here’s an approximation of what feldgrau often looked like:

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Needless to say, the subject of color is very subjective so the above is just to give a general idea.

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Me coming out of the rain. Lack of sleep caught up with me…and yes, the wool does repel water (to a point)

As to the uniform itself, I am wearing the 1915 (1916 pattern for Bavarians) pattern coat, or bluse, which was a wartime simplification of the basic tunic. For trousers, I am wearing the prewar 1907 pattern. As for comfort, well things can get itchy sometimes and definitely hot in warmer weather but in cold weather, it serves its purpose very well.

Overall, it was a fun and exciting trip and I am looking forward to returning in the Fall. 🙂

Winding Down 2016…

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Well, 2016 is winding down and I can finally take a small break. 2016 has been a very busy year for Karin and I here at Lily Absinthe. Between traveling to No. 11 in Tombstone, conventions, and designing and creating our line of bridal fashions, it’s been a full plate and for 2017 it looks like more of the same. For me personally, it’s been a year of personal growth as I have worked to expand my technical knowledge of design and fashion history. While the road has been bumpy at times and required a major investment of time and energy, the rewards have been personally satisfying and has given me a sense of personal accomplishment.

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Making some final adjustments…

For 2017, I plan on moving further and exploring the various facets of 19th and early 20th Century fashion and while there will, no doubt, be many challenges, I look forward to them because in the end, it can only have a positive outcome. 🙂

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Fashion doesn’t always happen in the Atelier… 

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It all starts here… 

 

And We’re Off…

This morning I’m leaving early to drive up to the Bay Area for the Angel Island event. While the drive to the Bay Area is nowhere as a long as it is to Tombstone, it still takes some about five hours and one has to factor in for accidents and traffic. With any luck, we’ll avoid rush hour and be able to make the 3 pm ferry crossing. 🙂 As I indicated in a previous post, we will be staying on the West side of the island at Camp Reynolds (aka later as West Garrison) which is the oldest military presence on the island, dating back to 1863, and it offers a unique living history experience in that there has been little modernization to the site (by the same token, with some major exceptions, little has also been done to preserve the majority of the existing structures and so they lay in an arrested state of decay).

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Formation at Camp Reynolds c. 1912. The barracks in the background were torn down in the 1930s.

I am participating with Co. G, 364 Infantry, a living history organization focused on the First World War Era and we will be recreating a bit of 1917 when the Army was mobilizing for war with Germany. Up until this point, Angle Island had been a busy place, acting as the major port of embarkation for troops coming and returning from service in the Philippines and Hawaii which was the Army’s main area of focus.

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Trooper ponying another horse. Supposedly, horses captured from Pancho Villa were brought here but that’s highly improbable for a variety of reasons to include cost and utility.

However, all that would change on April 6, 1917 with America’s declaration of war on the Central Powers with the Army growing from roughly 133,000 peacetime Regulars to over 4,100,000 of which some 2,280,000 would be ultimately shipped to France. Angel Island did its part, acting as a recruit depot for the rapidly growing Army.

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Recruit, Angel Island, c. 1917. It could have been someone from the newly-forming 63rd Infantry.

Before 1900, Angel Island was a somewhat sleepy Army post where not a lot happened. For officers, living conditions were pleasant enough but for the enlisted soldiers, it could be boring and monotonous. Desertion and smuggling in liquor from the mainland were big problems all through Camp Reynolds’ existence.

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Outing, c. 1880s or 1890s, Camp Reynolds thereabouts.

Stay tuned for more about our excursion. 🙂