Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Felicity's Noah's Ark

Hey guys!
     So this was my first time attempting this but I found this Ebay lot for an extremely good price for what was all in it, the only thing is I already own half the items soo... I sold the items I already have within a few days and made $35.00 off of the deal and the items I kept I basically got for free plus a profit!
      Anyways, one of the things I am keeping is the Noah's Ark. An interesting fact about this piece is that in the 18th century, children were not allowed to play with toys on Sunday...with an exception of a Noah's Ark like this one because it is bible related.

      I am going to get the review out of the way first this time and then I will talk a bit about the other toys in the 18th century. So the first thing I have to say about this is... it is the cutest thing ever! The Ark is made of wood, the roof flips up for storage and the boat comes apart at the middle for storage as well. The ark comes with a Noah figurine, a figurine of his wife, and five pairs of animals, 2 elephants, 2 sheep, 2 horses, 2 camels, and 2 pigs. I am not sure exactly what the figures are made of but they feel like glass or porcelain. The Noah and wife have movable arms! The ark comes with a little wooden ramp for the animals to go up. This ark is the early Pleasant Company version, the way to know this is because the early version has two blue stripes on the ark. The newer version only has one stripe (on the top). My son said the blue on the bottom is suppose to be water, he is such a smarty pants sometimes.  

Ark with ramp, Noah and his wife

Boat with its top off...ohh boy!

Closeup of Noah and Wife

"Come on Noah, Lets start a wave!"





Animals paired up, in a line

            I searched far and wide on the interwebs for a picture of an 18th century Noah's Ark with no luck. But I did find some of early to mid 19th century. But I do know they existed then after reading up on it some more. They started being made in Germany in the early to mid 18th century. 

Both of these examples were made in Germany. Much like the Felicity version, these arks also have storage inside the boats. Of course these have a lot more animals to go with it. 
Now in the 18th century, a lot of children didn't have a lot of time to play. As soon as they were toddling around, children were always involved in work around the homes and farms. Could be as simple as picking up rocks and sticks out of the garden. When they did have time to play like on rainy or cold days where they couldn't do much work, they played with mostly homemade toys, carved wood figures, paper dolls, etc. Although around this time it was also becoming popular to buy toys already made at shops, too.
Popular indoor toys in the 18th century included rocking horses, toy soldiers, dolls (could be made of paper, wood, rags, wax, ivory), spinning toys such as tops, bilboquet (wooden cup on a handle with a ball on a string attached, the goal was to catch the ball in the cup). 
I am going to save talking about outdoor toys and games for another post because I have a set in mind that will be perfect for that. ;)   

I hope you guys have learned something new today and be sure to follow my blog so you don't miss any new posts!! 
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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Inspired by Sons of Liberty: Felicity's Tricorne Hat and Riding Breeches

Hey guys!!

      I want to start off by saying I am sorry, because I started writing this at the end of January when the show premiered and I have had writers block for a while now but I am going to finish this up! So here it goes!

       So I just got done watching Sons of Liberty, a mini series on History channel and I was blown away by it! It was so good! Watching this and seeing all the men dressed in their tri-cornered hats (Also called tricorne hats or cocked hats) and their waistcoats and breeches (which I really want to start a movement to bring this style back because it is incredibly attractive to me....I mean... they brought back bell bottoms in the early 2000's..why not 18th century mens fashion??), I turned to my husband and said, "You should dress like that...its sexy." to which my extremely practical replied, "What is the purpose to a hat like that? It doesn't keep the sun out of your eyes." Oh dear husband... you have crushed my dreams. Is it too much to ask.. for you to wear 18th century attire for my own viewing pleasure?!
       Anyways... besides being extremely nice on the eyes... they do indeed have a purpose. But first, I want to show you Felicitys Riding Breeches and Hat set. In the Felicity series, she steals Ben's breeches to go ride her horse Penny in the middle of the night. She did not, however, wear a tricorne hat but I am really glad American Girl added it to this set. So I got this set a few years ago as a gift from my mother and I am so glad to have it because if I tried to get it now.. I would pay $70+ on eBay for it.

As you can see at first glance, it is adorable, of course. 

Closer look: The set only comes with Breeches and the hat. With the use of both velcro and functioning buttons, the front closes in a similar way as a diaper would. There are many types of breeches but these are what are called "Fall Front Breeches" 

The hat is made of a soft velvet-y black material and has a red trim. 

     So the tricorne hat first became popular when Spanish soldiers in Flanders during the 17th century binded the brims of the hats they wore and TAH DAHH! The triangle shape was made and during a war between the Spanish and French in 1667, the fashionable French copied this fashion and pretty soon, Louis XIV was making it a fashion statement.
King Louis XIV
    What a perfect hat to show off those grand wigs they wore. Yes.. that is one of the legit purposes that made this hat so popular. By the end of the 17th century, most men were wearing this kind of hat. The rich wore hats made of animal skins and beaver hair felt. The poorer class had them made of wool. No matter what your rank in society was, this was a must have. Gentlemen also liked the fact that the tricorne fit so nicely under the arm when entering a building, which was proper etiquette.    
       This hat was worn by the military too at the time. This hat was typically worn with the point straight ahead, yet it was not uncommon for military men to cock the hat so the point is over the left eye to make their shots fired more accurate. At the end of the 18th century the tricorne hat in the military was replaced by the bicorne which was very popular with the military in Europe up until World War 1 and died down around the beginning of World War 2.
Napoleon in his Bicorne
So that was the end of the tricorne hat...and I know you're thinking... well there really isn't a purpose for this hat! Well....okay your are kinda right.. but I like to think that the tricorne is just as much involved with the American Revolution as George Washington was. But it is also I could just be delusional.
       Anyways... Some examples of the tricorne hat....

Ben in his tricorne and Felicity in the Felicity movie

Painting of George Washington in his tricorne

Heath Ledger and Mel Gibson in their Tricornes from the movie, The Patriot.

Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow in his beloved tricorne in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

      Alright, I am going to write briefly on breeches history too before I publish this and head to bed. The word Breeches came from Old English brēc, the plural of brōc "garment for the legs and trunk", from the Proto-Germanic word *brōk-, plural *brōkiz, whence also the Norse word brók, which shows up in the epithet of the Viking king, Ragnar Lodbrok. For those of you that watch the History Channel series "Vikings" you know all about Ragnar Lodbrok and if you don't watch should. I am totally hooked. It is almost as good as Game of Thrones. Anyways, Lodbrok translates into "Hairy Breeches." Gee... It kinda makes the actor that portrays him in the series less attractive.....


No....No it actually doesn't... still extremely attractive.

So, back to business here. Breeches first indicated a cloth worn as underwear by both men and women, but later the term was used for the hose (German 'Hosen') which was worn as mens lower outer garments (I bet that was an awkward transition) and then the term was used for the most common knee high pants. During the French Revolution, breeches were a sign of nobility. 
  There are many different types of breeches. Like I stated earlier, Felicity's pair is called 'fall front breeches'. These were popular from the mid 1700's to about 1820. I am guessing this designs purpose was similar to the reasoning behind the holes in the front of boxers, if you catch my drift.. These breeches did not require a belt, you could tighten the waist with button on the back. 
      Breeches were made of a variety of materials. Upper class men typically wore breeches made of buckskin and for more fancy shin digs, silk breeches were common. Breeches were also made out of leather or more course cloths. Doesn't sound very comfortable to me!
      Well sadly they did come out of style eventually... but never fear! Breeches are still used today for two main reasons... equestrian sports and fencing. Being an equestrian myself, I wear breeches often and feel like a million bucks when I do. As for right now... I feel tired. So I am going to close. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. I hope you learned something, and I hope your brain is craving more knowledge! 

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