Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Regency Fabrics, Part 26

Here’s another post in our ongoing series on Regency fabrics.

As I have in previous posts, I’ll be examining actual fabric samples glued into several earlier editions of Ackermann’s Repository, samples supplied by the manufacturers and published by Ackermann in order to boost the British cloth-making industry at a time when exporting British goods to Europe was almost impossible because of the Napoleonic war. I'll give you a close-up scan of each sample, the published description if available, and my own observations of the color, weight, condition, and similarity to present-day materials, to give you as close a picture as possible of what these fabrics are like.

Today’s four samples are from the September 1812 issue of Ackermann’s Repository. The overall condition of my copy is very good; the page itself is free of foxing and barely, if at all, toned; the sample in white has suffered some foxing, but that's probably unavoidable.
Here we go!

No. 1. A celestial blue imperial striped sarsnet, adapted for pelisses, spencers, evening robes, and mantles. Silk fringe of the same colour, matted crape, Spanish binding, and thread lace, or net, are the only appropriate trimmings for articles of this delicate and pliant material. It is sold by Messrs. George and Bradley, mercers, No. 19, Holywell-street, Strand.

My comments: Alas, it’s no longer possible to see just how celestial the blue was in this sarsnet was: only a hint of color can be seen now. The fabric itself, though, is lovely stuff: it possesses a delightfully silky hand and a shimmer that would indeed make for a beautiful “evening robe.”  

No  2. A sea-weed ground printed cambric, so evidently calculated for the humble order of morning and domestic wear, that no further remark is necessary, than to recommend robes of this article to be made high in the neck, with long sleeves, and frills or collars of lace or needle-work. We are furnished with this print from the house of Harris and Co. No.1, Picket-st. Temple Bar.

My comments:  A nice, sturdy cambric fabric, evenly woven. The background seaweed print is finely printed in a tannish orange; the larger brown pattern has either run, or wasn’t as well printed in the first place, having left brown streaks on the background.

No. 3. A beautiful fancy silver paper for ladies’ work-tables, boxes, card-racks, &c. When made up, it exhibits the appearance of the red sea-weed, strained on a white satin or silver ground. Work-tables, with ebony and gold frames and feet, or japanned to that effect, are a most unique, elegant, and useful article for the boudoir. For card or work-boxes the narrow embossed gold or silver border is a appropriate finish at the edges. This simple and tasteful article is from Ackermann’s, 101, Strand.

My comments: Okay, forget what I said about the samples being in good condition. While it’s just possible to see the seaweed pattern and a hint of red on this sturdy but not too thick paper, the silvery background has long since oxidized away, alas—it must have been pretty. I have to wonder, by the by, why there's a paper sample amongst the fabrics; did a fabric merchant forget to send along his samples?

No. 4. A striped Scotch jaconot muslin, designed for the morning dress and children’s ware. Lace, or borders of double or plaited muslin, are the only becoming and consistent trimmings for robes of this article. It is sold by Charles Cooper and Co. No. 47, Fleet-street.

My comments: Very finely woven and, as a result, very sheer...but also very pretty and delicate. Charming as a child’s smock, or in a morning dress over a lining or slip.

What do you think of this month’s fabrics?

Friday, October 11, 2019

Glamping in the Trees: Storybook Perfect!

I recently had a birthday, turning over another decade. And I wanted to do something special. Some poking around for opportunities led me and my husband into the woods to the north of us, to Treehouse Place at Deer Ridge, near Lake Stevens, Washington. I thought you might get as big a kick out of visiting as I did.

To start out, the approach to the house begins on Sasquatch Lane. (Big fan of Sasquatch, the Ape Man of the Northwest—have been since I was a kid.)

You climb up through the trees on a lighted path.

Until you see the house.

Now, it’s not completely up in the trees, but it’s on the edge of a hill, so the view out truly makes you feel as if you were singing with the birds.

Inside, it’s a darling cabin. Here's the main floor. Yes, that’s a soaker tub.


An Alexa is available to dim the lights for you. My husband and I got a big kick out of telling her what to do and asking questions. She answered my husband back more than she did me. Hmmm. 

If you need more to stimulate you, nearby Lake Stevens is gorgeous too!

Treehouse Place at Deer Ridge is on Airbnb and was mentioned in USA Today. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend. For this writer, it was storybook perfect. 😊

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Wheeee! A Sale!

Quick post this week because sometimes Life just piles up on you...

These last months have been spent getting ready for Evergreen’s release on November 5, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about my other children books. . .more specifically, about Between Silk and Sand. I’m delighted to announce that it is a finalist in the Young Adult category of Orange County RWA’s 2019 Book Buyer’s Best contest, which is both exciting and a great honor.

Partly in celebration of that, and partly as a pre-party for Evergreen’s release, I decided to have a sale on Between Silk and Sand. For the next two weeks, the e-book version will be on sale for 99¢ (regularly $4.99), available from all your favorite ebook vendors. So grab a copy now. . .and meanwhile, I’ll go deal with those big piles of Life (and no, not the breakfast cereal) I’ve got going here...

Happy shopping!

Barnes and Noble
Apple Books

Friday, October 4, 2019

More Popcorn!

On this fall Friday, I offer you two entertainments, so gather your popcorn and settle in.

The first is at Novel PASTimes, where the charming Ben Coleridge, hero of A Distance Too Grand, is being interviewed. I picture Chris Pine whenever I think of Ben. 😊

And what’s a good book without a good book trailer? I don’t have Marissa’s artistic eye, alas, so I was very glad when my publisher offered to make me a trailer for A Distance Too Grand.

Enjoy! And have some popcorn for me.

Here are those links, one more time:

Baker Publishing Group
Barnes and Noble 
Apple Books
Christian Book
The Book Depository, free shipping worldwide

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Having a Grand Old Time! A Distance Too Grand

It’s here! It’s been a while since I had a traditionally published book out, so excuse me while I squeal a little. A Distance Too Grand launches today from Revell.

Meg Pero has been assisting her photographer father since she was big enough to carry his equipment, so when he dies she is determined to take over his profession--starting with fulfilling the contract he signed to serve on an Army survey of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1871. What she doesn't realize is that the leader of the expedition is none other than the man she once refused to marry.

Captain Ben Coleridge would like nothing more than to leave without the woman who broke his heart, but he refuses to wait even one more day to get started. This survey is a screen for another, more personal mission, one he cannot share with any member of his team.

As dangers arise from all sides, including within the survey party, Meg and Ben must work together to stay alive, fulfill their duties, and, just maybe, rekindle a love that neither had completely left behind.

Here's a little taste:

“Is there a problem, Corporal?” the man behind her asked. Oh, but she couldn’t mistake that voice, even ringing with command. It seemed God wasn’t going to answer this prayer either, just as He hadn’t seen fit to allow her father to survive his illness.

Corporal Dent squared his shoulders. “No, sir. This citizen says she’s to go on the survey expedition to the North Rim, but it’s clearly a mistake. I can deal with the likes of her.”

Meg bristled, but the voice behind her was now all commiseration. “No need to be rude, Corporal. I’d be happy to explain the situation to the lady. If you’d tell me your name, miss?”

So well meaning. That was one of the traits that had originally drawn her to him. That and his unrelenting confidence. Easy to turn now, to greet her long-lost love, to let him convince her she should go back home.

But there was no home and never would be if she didn’t win this commission.

She raised her chin and turned. Even though she knew who she would find behind her, the sight of Benjamin Coleridge still shook her. That shock of golden-brown hair, so thick and silky; those blue-gray eyes that could look deep inside her. The chiseled chin that could soften with emotion, that strong physique outlined in the navy wool of his uniform jacket, two silver bars on his shoulders. Oh, but she could hear the ladies sighing from here.

Once more she put on her best smile. “Good afternoon, Captain Coleridge. I must insist that I join your expedition. I’m your photographer.”

You can find the book in trade paperback, e-book, hardcover, and audio book from fine retailers such as the following:

Baker Publishing Group
Barnes and Noble 
Apple Books
Christian Book 
The Book Depository, free shipping worldwide

Friday, September 27, 2019

Exploring a Legend: John Wesley Powell and the Grand Canyon

I am quite impressed with the Grand Canyon. I know I’m not the only one. All that rugged grandeur! The colors, the changing weather, the varying landscape as you descend. The silence, as if all of nature is holding its breath. But when John Wesley Powell decided to explore the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon, the place was not much more than a legend.

So was he, truth be told. John Wesley Powell joined the Union Army as a military engineer, but he served in many positions during the Civil War and ended up a brevet lieutenant colonel. A minié ball blew off most of his right arm, but he continued serving until the war ended. Geology was always his greatest love, so he took a position as a professor at Illinois Wesleyan University in that subject. He’d led his wife and students on several journeys of exploration when he decided to tackle the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869. And he nearly lost his life in the process.

Dangerous rapids, difficult portages, poor weather and flash flood would all plague the trip. They lost most of their boats; they lost most of their supplies. Three men gave up at one point to leave the expedition and hike out of the canyon. They were never heard from again. Four months later, the rest of the expedition made it out.

But the canyon had a grip on his heart and mind. Determined to make it all the way through, with photographic evidence this time, he set out again in May of 1871 with a group of hand-picked men, including photographer John Hillers. It took them eight months, but they managed to traverse the canyon safely, coming out at Kanab Creek. With photographs to prove it.

Powell went on to publish his report of both trips for public consumption, which went a long way toward instilling in the Nation a love for the area, ensuring its preservation as a national park.

His first expedition was commemorated 100 years later with a U.S. postal stamp.

Rather grand, isn’t it?

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Universal Advertising Sheet, Part 4

Let’s see what interesting shreds of personal and social history we can read about, courtesy this week of the Monthly Compendium of Literary, Fashionable, and Domestic Advertisements from the February and March 1811 editions of La Belle Assemblée...

November 1810 saw the death of George III’s youngest daughter, Princess Amelia, and commercial after-effects were still being felt, as demonstrated by these two items:

The Nobility, Gentry, and Families, are respectfully informed, that SNUGGS and Co Mercers and Manufacturers to Her Majesty and the Royal Family, have a most extensive Assortment of every fashionable Article for the occasion, warranted f superior make, and at such prices as must ensure general approbation. No. 20, the Corner of Henrietta-street, Covent Garden. (February 1811)

(Hmmm. One wonders if they overstocked back in November...)


The extra-ordinary and general respect in which that amiable Princess was and is still held, is strikingly demonstrated by the unusual demand for the beautiful Portrait of her engraved by Agar, after Mrs. Mee. The original plate is already quite worn out; and the public will not be displeased to learn, that the same able artist has another in hand, which will be finished in a few days, and will possess all the advantages that may naturally be expected in a second performance. (February 1811)

(All the advantages of a second performance...does that mean it’s an even more flattering likeness?

However, this advertisement very much looks forward to the relaxing of mourning:


Mr. M. MARKS, most respectfully informs the Nobility and Gentry, that he intends to engage Musicians, and personally to attend at Balls, Masquerades, &c. as usual, and solicits their commands for the winter season. Letters or messages addressed to Mr. M. MARKS, Musician at the Surrey Theatre; or at Mr. Wilson’s, Dancing-Master, No. 9, Bedford-row, will receive the strictest attention.

MR. MARK’S Collection of Dances may be had at Kelly’s Saloon, Pall-Mall; Birchall and Golding, Bond-street, and at all the principal Music Shops. (February 1811)

This one was interesting...Regency falsies?!


TALMAGE’S fashionable CORSET Warehouse, removed from Orchard-street, Portman-square, to No. 31, Park-street, Grosvenor square, where he continues to Sell his new invented PATENT SHIELDS for the bosom, which are so universally approved of by Ladies in the first circles of fashion, as they display the most graceful form imaginable. Ocular demonstration will convince any Lady of their utility, without even a single trial; also his new invented Corsets, that for ease and elegance stand unrivalled. Ladies elastic steel backs, braces, and monitors, upon an entire new plan, for improving the shape. (March 1811)

And I found this particularly interesting, for many reasons:


Mr. Wilson, Dancing Master, from the King’s Theatre, Opera-House, Author of the Analysis of Country Dancing, Treasures of Terpsichore, &c., respectfully informs the Public, that his Academy for Dancing is now open every day, where persons of any age may be instructed in every department of Dancing, adapted either to the Stage or Ball-room.

For the sake of privacy, no third person is permitted to be present while the Pupil is receiving a lesson.

Country Dancing, Four private lesson: One Guinea, or completed for Five Guineas; Reels, with the Original Irish and Scottish Steps, Four Guineas. The Terms of every other Dance may be known of Mr. Wilson, at his residence, 9, Bedford-street, Bedford-row, Holborn, where he may be privately spoke with every afternoon from four till six o’clock.

Where may be had, price 7s. 6d. his “Analysis of Country Dancing;” likewise, his “Treasures of Terpsichore.”

N.B. Ladies wishing Private Instructions may receive them from Mrs. Wilson. (March 1811)

So private dancing lessons, with no one else to witness your two left feet in motion, could be had for both men and women...but wow, they were pricy! Interesting, too, that the ad specifies that stage dancing was also taught...in a time when dancing on stage was, shall we say, not very respectable.