December 3, 2015

Soldier's Christmas at Graeme Park and Needlebooks from Fanciful Utility

 Last weekend I went to the timeline Soldier's Christmas event at Graeme Park in Horsham, PA with the Dixie Marauders. The event had reenactors representing the Christmas holiday in the 1770s, 1860s, 1914s, and 1940s.   We put together an 1860s Christmas display. The display included things that ladies on the homefront would send soldiers, such as sheet music, food and games.

This event gave me a chance to make the Scotch Short-cake recipe and to make some needlebooks based on the information found in Fanciful Utility, which I highly recommend if you are interested in small projects. Needlebooks were the perfect thing to make as small gifts for this event. They came together quickly and each contained, pins, needles, thread and a few spare buttons.      

Closeup of the Needlebooks.

Our display which included sheet music, sugar plumbs, scotch short-cake, coffee, rice, farina, games, packing advice, and more.

The event was packed, even with the threat of and eventual rain. The site was collecting donations to send to the troops oversees and a lot of veterans came out to show support. The husband and wife pictured above were my favorite. The wife was blind but her husband made sure she got to see everything. 

For those of you interested in Fanciful Utility, I highly recommend it. The book has 68 projects including templates and instructions for various needlebooks and sewing cases. It also shows various decorative stitches and techniques and gives advice for period fabric choices and colors.     

We ended up making our own very basic needlebook pattern based on the the advice in the book as suited to our needs but they're nothing compared to the awesome recreations from the book as seen in the video at the bottom.  

Click to see the video!


  1. Just found you site ! I am new to living history and enjoyed exploring your posts. We are starting out in the Rendezvous era, pre 1840, so found many helpful links and posts. Will be checking back often. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Nice to meet you! I hope to see you around at events.

  2. Thank you for talking about and sharing Fanciful Utility. Your needle-books came out adorable.

    1. Thanks! It was such a nice event and everyone loved them.

  3. I love this idea! Also, the cookie/biscuit looking things look delicious...



      For your eating pleasure. :D


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