Friday, September 28, 2012

Fairy (Faery) Lore

by Sibelle Stone

My new Mystic Moon series features four sisters who are Elemental Witches. In building my world I used Restoration England as the setting, but I decided that if witches were being tortured, prosecuted and executed,  I’d give some the women a fighting chance. The story question is: what if a woman is accused of using witchcraft, and she actually has magical abilities?

I gave each sister a specific elemental spirit connected with their magic. Each witch controls, well actually works with an element, air (the wind), fire, water and earth. The spirits connected to each element are very specific - Air -sylphs, Fire - salamander, Water -undines and Earth -gnomes.

I based the elemental beings on fairies (faeries) -- supernatural spirits who are thought to exist in a realm between heaven and earth. There are fairy legends throughout the world. They are said to be of various sizes, sometimes described as tiny, butterfly like creatures, but there are stories of human size fairies too. All of the legends assign magical powers to these creatures.

Because I wanted my story to begin in the British Isles, I researched various magical belief systems. Celtic supernatural legends, stories and folktales appealed to me the most. This narrowed down my choices for fairy characteristics. I decided my fairies would be nature spirits, that they would work with my witches in order to gain something for themselves. They love to bargain, but eventually as a Glyndwr witch comes into her power, (because it made sense to me that if you possessed these powers, you wouldn’t’ t know how to use them all at once) the elemental works with her to increase their own magical abilities. It’s a symbiotic relationship, with each party getting something from the arrangement.

Because fairies can be good or bad, (or in-between) and ugly or beautiful -- I ascribed the various characteristics based on the type of element the witch controlled. Catlin, the heroine of the first book in the series ,Whistle Down the Wind,  is an air mage, so she can control the wind and storms. I perceive her elemental creatures, sylphs, to be tiny winged creatures, they appear to humans as silver motes floating in the air. In the blink of a human eye, they can disappear. Catlin can hear them speak, but should they ever decide they no longer wish to work with her, they can drive her mad with their voices.
Because there are so many legends about fairies seducing human women, I decided that my sylphs would be seductive, sensuous creatures. In one of the earlier chapters of the book, they urge the heroine to kiss the hero. Fortunately for them, it doesn’t take a lot of encouragement to get the couple to share their first kiss.

I look forward to writing the next book about Catlin’s eldest sister, Aelwyd, who is a fire adept. She has extensive magical powers, and her tiny elemental creatures are usually referred to as salamanders. I decided that I preferred the name, fire dragon. While Aelwyd tries to be composed, controlled and self-possessed, her elemental beings can influence her to be as fiery, emotional and passionate as they are.

If you truly love learning about faerie lore, I encourage you to visit

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Marching bands and Roman legions

Recently, I went with my hubby to professional football game where the stands were filled near capacity. To the tune of about 80,000 fans.  This is the number of Roman soldiers Boudica faced with her warriors who numbered approximately 200,000 in number. Scary. 
The difference between the two armies is simple. Most armies other than the Roman legions fought individually. They had a plan. Attack. Out number. Overwhelm. Or simply fight it out, man to man. 
This was to their down fall. Ask Boudica.

The Roman legions didn't fight man to man but as a unit.But to command this unit to move as ordered was a feat. The legion was trained to respond to signals. The roar of battle required the use of instruments to sound the commander's commands since they didn't have internet or wacky talkies.

According to Vegetius of the 4th century AD, the straight trumpet or 'tuba' sounded the charge and retreat.  This order was obeyed without hesitation. The tuba was also used for sacred ceremonies. 
The horn or 'cornu' or curved tuba was used to signal movement of the units or colors. These instruments could move sets/cohorts of men just about anywhere. Now think of marching bands with their instruments that have generated from these as the French horn, the large and small tuba, trumpet, coronet, even the flute along with the drums. All were used previously by Roman Legion
So when you see a marching band, you will now know a bit more of its origins.
These same instruments also were used in the triumphs for the victorious emperors or as we know them parades for our sports figures and other heroes.

 One other instrument from Ancient Rome is the bagpipe. 

Originally, it was a goat's bladder used in Greece. The Romans thought it has a strange enough sound to be used with the legions. When Rome ventured into Britannia about the time of Boudica, they brought it with them. But decided it didn't work. And stopped using it.  
However, the Caledonii people, or who became known as the Scots, decided they rather liked this instrument. They came to treasure the bagpipe so much so that the  Scottish warriors kept fighting as long as the piper was playing. Many a battle was won because of the piper. This was so successful that the British outlawed the bagpipe for this reason. They considered it a weapon.
When I see the marching band march onto a football field at halftime, you now know where my mind goes. But, if you ask my hubby, he'll say I see Rome in every thing.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Beep-Beep! Story Houses

L. G. C. Smith

A few weeks ago I drove from California to the Black Hills in South Dakota with my sister, her six-year-old daughter, two big dogs, and our parents following along behind with their erratic bladders and a broken hearing aide. Fourteen hundred miles each way. In spite of sounding like many people’s (literal) hell on wheels, it was awesome. 

 Family Vacation at Historical Family Homestead Site. Lovely dead trees.

My sister’s Pilot became a personal time travel machine that carried us through landscapes that laid bare geological stories I hadn’t heard for a decade. We swept through old mining and cattle towns and a couple of cities. We crossed rivers and creeks lined with the same cottonwoods that were there forty years ago when I was a kid. We paralleled old pioneer trails and had to explain the Donner Party to a first-grader. I’m pleased to report that the Boner Ranch sign is intact north of Lusk, WY. And most of the run-down abandoned houses, barns and outbuildings that didn’t succeed in taming the West are still hanging on to enough boards and nails to withstand blizzards and scouring winds. I know this because every time my niece, the Leezlet, saw one, and this kid misses nothing, she hollered “Beep-beep!”

Why? “You explain, Mom,” she demurred. It turns out that “beep-beep” is my niece’s code for a haunted house. It’s faster than saying “haunted house,” and has the advantage of not alerting any ghosts that she’s looking—because those spectral prospectors and pioneer women driven crazy by the wind are apparently lurking along the Interstates hoping for someone to haunt. Anyone who mentions the words “haunt,” “ghost,” or “Ghost Hunters” is fair game.

I remember looking at those brown and grey weathered houses with their windows long-gone and their doors gaping open and wondering about the people who had lived there. There was one house in particular, along Highway 79 between Hot Springs and Rapid City, a square and solid Craftsman bungalow with clean, elegant lines. I always wondered why anyone would leave such a nice little house to ruin. It’s still there. I’ve been wondering about that house since I was seven. My niece noticed it. Now she’s wondering, too.

One of the first things we did when we arrived in the Black Hills was to visit the ranch my mother grew up on. The house is still there. My great-great grandfather and his sons bought the two-story part from somewhere else and moved it in. The one-story part was the original house on the property, homesteaded in 1878 and first located south of the creek. It was later moved a quarter mile north to be closer to the road, and joined up with the two-story part to house a growing family. My grandfather grew up there, and my mother. It was the one place in my life that stayed the same from the time I was born (not too far away) until my grandparents moved into town when I was out of college. 

The house my mother grew up in. Built in 1880 and looking a little 'beep-beep.'
The oldest one-story part of the house. 
The back room held more stories than the whole rest of the place.

We didn’t go in the house. We know the people who own it, but they rent it to someone else. We didn’t want to impose. We stood in the yard and looked at the Black Hills spruce trees my Grandpa planted for each of his daughters, at the few scraggly apple trees his father planted in what used to be a small orchard, and at the cottonwood and elm trees my parents dug up from along the creek and planted in the front yard when I was in high school. My mom was with us. We told those stories to the Leezlet, and many more. We told about the time my sisters and brother were nearly hit by lightning when it struck the corner of the house in 1973. We told about the card parties around the dining room table with all my cousins and the neighboring family’s kids. She had just met one of those kids, now a tanned and fit middle-aged rancher with a granddaughter close to the Leezlet’s age.

 No barn left at my grandparents' ranch, but this was the view.

I remembered that when I wrote my first historical romance, “The Outlaw’s Secret Bride,” I used that house as the model for the house the heroine lived in. Imagining her and her family there made it so immediate. I realized that every novel I write has a house at its core, and I always draw floorplans (sometimes to scale, depending if I can find my graph paper or not), and furnish them meticulously in my mind’s eye. I still feel a twinge of regret that my husband accidentally threw out my drawings of the floorplans and estate plan for the house in my romantic thriller, “Warlord” (to be published in the summer of 2013 by Belle Bridge Books).

The road trip brought back a lot of memories and the memory of a lot of stories, fictional and historical. My niece demanded story after story of road trips past, as well as new stories about her favorites: werewolves, vampires, and ghosts. My hope is that she’ll remember some of those, and when she sees “beep-beep” houses, she’ll think of not only the lost stories of those who lived in them, but the tales of houses and places that ground her family in time. I hope she will carry some of those stories into the future with her. When she’s old enough to read my books, I hope she’ll see those old houses and find inspiration for the new stories that will shape her life.

  Bear Butte from the ranch. Good stories there, too.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Regency Hairstyles by Vivienne Westlake

                                           Painting by Robert Lefèvre. Circa 1810 (Wikimedia Commons)

In the late 18th century, hairstyles were dramatic. The higher the better. People wore wigs or powdered their hair and often added adornments such as feathers, flowers, ribbons, and fanciful hats. Hair styling went through a dramatic change in the Regency. Under the influence of Neoclassicism, hair styles became simple and modest as ladies tried to achieve the look of the Ancient Greek & Roman goddesses.

Hair was often swept up and worn in a bun or braided and pinned up. If a woman wore her hair long, it was usually not worn lose but put in a ponytail or twist and worn to one side. Curls were very popular during this period, so many women would have to artificially curl their hair to achieve the perfect look.

Here are a few wonderful resources that discuss Regency hairstyles in detail.

Jane Austen's World has a great article showing many images of Greco-Roman hairstyles and their Regency adaptations.

Mother Earth News shows how to curl your hair using curling papers, which was a popular method during the Regency (curling irons weren't as common as they are today). Women would apply a pomade and then use the curling papers to create the ringlets you often see in portraits and Jane Austen films.

Rapunzel's Resource, a website devoted to hairstyles for women with long hair, has fun tutorials showing how to re-create the hairstyles from Emma (she includes styles from the Kate Beckinsale, Romola Garai, and Gwyneth Paltrow films).
Note: posts usually include biblical quotes and religious references.

Jane Austen Today offers a 9 minute video tutorial on how to create an "up do" in Regency style.

Timely Tresses offers patterns and materials to make bonnets suitable for Regency and Victorian ladies. They also have a page where you can order fashion plates to see what the gowns and hair styles of the period were like. (You can preview some of the plates directly on the website)

     Main Page:

     Fashion Plates:

What is your favorite hairstyle for long hair?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Research Trips (continued from 6/29/12 post by Deborah Schneider)

London, Winter 2009
By Sheryl Hoyt, writing as Saralynn Hoyt

Unlike my friend and critique partner, Deb, I love Jane Austen books. So when she offered to take me to Bath (after I offered to take her to London) I didn’t even hesitate. Standing there in The Circus, where Jane must have walked herself 100’s of times, was a dream come true for me.

Then, off to tea in the Jane Austen Centre for an afternoon repast.
Of course I had my picture taken with Mr. Darcy. Hmmm, I think he wants his picture straightened out. Love that Colin Firth.
After picking up a few items in the gift shop, we practically jogged to the train station in order to catch the next one. My only regret was that we didn’t have enough time to go check out the Roman baths. Oh, darn, I guess I’ll just have to go back.
I wish I had a picture of the little circle in in London that Deb and I found ourselves in after getting lost in dark and rainy London. But it was exactly as I imagined the twisty winding cobbled streets of London to be according to Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
Another spectacular sight in London was the Tower Bridge, and close by the Tower itself. Somehow, about a month before we left for our trip to Europe, Deb and I saw a reference to the Ceremony of the Keys on a travel show. You have to request tickets up to three months in advance. We figured we’d try anyway and about two days before we left, the tickets showed up in the mail.
The Ceremony of the Keys takes place inside the castle walls and cameras are forbidden except as you leave. Deb and I got there early and nearly froze to death with a handful of other tourists. But it was totally worth it. You can’t talk during the ceremony and in December, it’s already pitch dark outside when it starts around 10pm. This ceremony has been performed every year, at the exact same time every night for over 700 years. Even during World War II when the bombs were dropping. It was amazing to stand there at the base of the Tower where Kings and Queens sought protection, where Anne Boleyn stayed until her execution, along with countless other traitors to the throne. It’s truly breathtaking to stand there and imagine the history that came before.
As much of London and Bath as we saw, there is still so much left to explore. What do you say Deb? Ready to go back and get some more pictures? I love research.

Sheryl Hoyt writing as Saralynn Hoyt

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Norse Burial Customs by Anna Markland

The burial customs of Viking Age North Germanic Norsemen (early medieval Scandinavians), are known both from archaeology and from historical accounts such as the Icelandic sagas, Old Norse poetry, and notably from the account of Ahmad ibn Fadlan.

I have woven many of these rituals into the narrative of my latest release, Wild Viking Princess.
Throughout Scandinavia, there are many remaining tumuli in honour of Viking kings and chieftains, in addition to runestones and other memorials. Some of the most notable of them are at the Borre mound cemetery, in Norway, at Birka in Sweden and Lindholm Høje and Jelling in Denmark.

A prominent tradition is that of the ship burial, where the deceased was laid in a boat, or a stone ship, and given grave offerings in accordance with his earthly status and profession, sometimes including sacrificed slaves. Afterwards, piles of stone and soil were usually laid on top of the remains in order to create a tumulus.

It was common to leave gifts with the deceased. Both men and women received grave goods, even if the corpse was to be burnt on a pyre. A Norseman could also be buried with a loved one or house thrall, who was buried alive with the person, or in a funeral pyre. The amount and the value of the goods depended on which social group the dead person came from. It was important to bury the dead in the right way so that he could join the afterlife with the same social standing that he had had in life, and to avoid becoming a homeless soul that wandered eternally.

The usual grave for a thrall was probably not much more than a hole in the ground. He was probably buried in such a way as to ensure both that he did not return to haunt his masters and that he could be of use to his masters after they died. Slaves were sometimes sacrificed to be useful in the next life. A free man was usually given weapons and equipment for riding. An artisan, such as a blacksmith, could receive his entire set of tools. Women were provided with their jewelry and often with tools for female and household activities. The most sumptuous Viking funeral discovered so far is the Oseberg ship burial, which was for a woman (probably a queen or a priestess) who lived in the 9th century.

A Viking funeral could be a considerable expense, but the barrow and the grave goods were not considered to have been wasted. In addition to representing homage to the deceased, the barrow remained as a monument to the social position of the descendants. Especially powerful Norse clans could demonstrate their position through monumental grave fields.

Jelling, in Denmark, is the largest royal memorial from the Viking Age and it was made by Harald Bluetooth in memory of his parents Gorm and Tyra, and in honour of himself.

I loved the name Gorm as soon as I came across it, but I used it for the villain of my story (apologies to the real Gorm)!

Despite the warlike customs of the Vikings, there was an element of fear surrounding death and what belonged to it. If the deceased was not buried and provided for properly, he might not find peace in the afterlife. The dead person could then visit the bereaved as a revenant or draugr.

A 10th century Arab Muslim writer named Ahmad ibn Fadlan produced a description of a funeral of a Scandinavian, probably Swedish, chieftain who was on an expedition on the eastern route. The account is a unique source on the ceremonies surrounding the Viking funeral of a chieftain. Antonio Banderas played Ahmad in the fictional film, The 13th Warrior.

The dead chieftain was put in a temporary grave which was covered for ten days until they had sewn new clothes for him. One of his thrall women volunteered to join him in the afterlife and she was guarded day and night, being given a great amount of intoxicating drinks while she sang happily. When the time had arrived for cremation, they pulled his longship ashore and put it on a platform of wood, and they made a bed for the dead chieftain on the ship. Thereafter, an old woman referred to as the "Angel of Death" put cushions on the bed. She was responsible for the ritual.

Then they disinterred the chieftain and gave him new clothes. In his grave, he received intoxicating drinks, fruits and a stringed instrument. The chieftain was put into his bed with all his weapons and grave offerings around him. Then they had two horses run themselves sweaty, cut them to pieces, and threw the meat into the ship. Finally, they sacrificed a hen and a cock.
Meanwhile, the thrall girl went from one tent to the other and had sexual intercourse with the men. Every man told her "tell your master that I did this because of my love to him". While in the afternoon, they moved the thrall girl to something that looked like a door frame, where she was lifted on the palms of the men three times. Every time, the girl told of what she saw. The first time, she saw her father and mother, the second time, she saw all her relatives, and the third time she saw her master in the afterworld. There, it was green and beautiful and together with him, she saw men and young boys. She saw that her master beckoned for her. By using intoxicating drinks, they thought to put the thrall girl in an ecstatic trance that made her psychic and through the symbolic action with the door frame, she would then see into the realm of the dead. The same ritual also appears in the Icelandic short story Völsa þáttr where two pagan Norwegian men lift the lady of the household over a door frame to help her look into the otherworld.

Thereafter, the thrall girl was taken away to the ship. She removed her bracelets and gave them to the old woman. Thereafter she removed her finger rings and gave them to the old woman's daughters, who had guarded her. Then they took her aboard the ship, but they did not allow her to enter the tent where the dead chieftain lay. The girl received several vessels of intoxicating drinks and she sang and bade her friends farewell.

Then the girl was pulled into the tent and the men started to beat on the shields so her screams could not be heard. Six men entered into the tent to have intercourse with the girl, after which they put her onto her master's bed. Two men grabbed her hands, and two men her wrists. The angel of death put a rope around her neck and while two men pulled the rope, the old woman stabbed the girl between her ribs with a knife. Thereafter, the relatives of the dead chieftain arrived with a burning torch and set the ship aflame. It is said that the fire facilitates the voyage to the realm of the dead.

Afterwards, a round barrow was built over the ashes and in the centre of the mound they erected a staff of birch wood, where they carved the names of the dead chieftain and his king. Then they departed in their ships.

Thralls could be sacrificed during a funeral so that they could serve their master in the next world.The sexual rites with the slave girl show that she was considered to be a vessel for the transmission of life force to the deceased chieftain.

On the seventh day after the person had died, people celebrated the sjaund, or the funeral ale that the feast also was called since it involved a ritual drinking. The funeral ale was a way of socially demarcating the case of death. It was only after the funeral ale that the heirs could rightfully claim their inheritance.
Drinking Scene

I have tried to follow the spirit of these rituals in Wild Viking Princess, though by my time period (1124A.D.) the advent of Christianity had led to some of them being less gruesome. My hero (Reider Torfinnsen) and heroine (Ragna FitzRam) come from two different cultures, and these traditional rituals prove to be a stumbling block to the relationship between them. Ragna has never been known for her tolerance of ideas she does not agree with!

Wild Viking Princess is Book III of the FitzRam Family Series and is available from Amazon for $1.99 

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Highland Love and Clan MacGregor

How does a woman tell her betrothed that she murdered her first husband? 

Shipwrecked in the Scottish Highlands, American heiress Elise Kingston quietly plans revenge for her daughter’s death and the brother who died trying to save them.

When Marcus MacGregor, Marquess of Ashlund, returns to his Highland home to discover a stunning American woman taken in by his clan, his attraction is instant and he resolves to make her his.

Elise is shocked by her need for Marcus and, too late, discovers that her feelings make him a target of her enemy—a man powerful enough to destroy even a Scottish nobleman.

In 1519, Iain of Glenstrae died with no direct heirs. This plunged the Clan Gregor into disarray as the powerful Campbells asserted claim to the last remaining MacGregor lands. In 1560, the Campbells dispossessed Gregor Roy MacGregor, who waged war against the Campbells for ten years before being captured and killed. His son, Alistair, claimed the MacGregor chiefship but was utterly unable to stem the tide of persecution which was to be fate of the "Children of the Mist."

Argyle and his Clan Campbell henchmen were given the task of hunting down the MacGregors. About sixty of the clan made a brave stand at Bentoik against a party of two-hundred chosen men belonging to the Clan Cameron, Clan MacNab, and Clan Ronald, under command of Robert Campbell, son of the Laird of Glen Orchy. In this battle, Duncan Aberach, one of the Chieftains of the Clan Gregor, his son Duncan, and seven other MacGregors were killed. But although they made a brave resistance, and killed many of their pursuers, the MacGregors, after many skirmishes and great losses, were at last overcome.
Excerpt taken from Wikipedia Clan Gregor

This is the family history behind my upcoming release My Highland Love. Clan leader Marcus MacGregor, Marquess of Ashlund, is next in line to rule his branch of the MacGregors. Marcus is an educated man, a modern man. He understands the need for peace. But the blood of his ancestors cries out at each atrocity that is still committed against his people by their centuries old enemies.

Here's a peek into Marcus' thoughts.

Marcus surged to his feet. He strode to the wall, where hung the claymore belonging to his ancestor Ryan MacGregor, the man who saved their clan from annihilation. Marcus ran a finger along the blade, the cold, hard steel heating his blood as nothing else could. Except… Campbells.
Had two centuries of bloodshed not been enough?
Fifty years ago King George finally proclaimed the MacGregors no longer outlaws and restored their Highland name. General John Murray, Marcus's great uncle, was named clan chief. Only recently, the MacGregors were given a place of honor in the escort, which carried the "Honors of Scotland" before the sovereign. Marcus had been there, marching alongside his clansmen.
Too many dark years had passed under this cloud. Would the hunted feeling Ryan MacGregor experienced ever fade from the clan? Perhaps it would have been better if Helena hadn't saved Ryan that fateful day so long ago. But Ryan had lived, and his clan thrived, not by the sword, but by the timeless power of gold. Aye, the Ashlund name Helena gave Ryan saved them. Yet, Ryan MacGregor's soul demanded recompense.
How could Ryan rest while his people still perished?

My Highland Love is available for pre-order at Silver Publishing


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Life of a Civil War Era Army Laundress - by Jennifer Jakes

As a Civil War Re-enactor, I chose the Army Laundress as my portrayal. When I found this historical photo of a woman, her husband and three children, I focused on recreating her look and the look of her camp for mine. (My husband is a Corp. in a small artillery unit and two our daughters re-enact with us.) So I wanted to share some of the information I discovered while researching this Army occupation. Yep, you read that right. The Army Laundress was employed by the Union Army. (The Confederate Army quite possibly did the same, but my research was for the Union.) All info from: Civil War Times, Aug. 1999 - including historic photo - and Laundry Handbook by Virginia Mescher

*Appointed by the captain of the company, the first thing he assigned the laundress was her letter of good character. She was the only woman granted official status in the army camp. All others – including officers’ wives – were considered Camp Followers.
*She was usually married to or related to one of the lower ranking soldiers. Her tent was set apart from the men – and if she was married to a soldier, he normally stayed with her on Suds Row.
*While most laundresses seemed respectable enough, there were a few who made “lots of money nature’s way. One of them had a bill today against a soldier for forty dollars.” –  Quote from a private, 2nd Minnesota Infantry. (Wow! That’s a lot of scrubbing up and down on. . .  something! Bet it wasn’t his socks. *wink* ) Such improper behavior was grounds for dismissal UNLESS the company captain chose to look the other way.
*One such “energetic” washer woman could make upwards of $40 per month. A true laundress who actually washed clothing, made about $7- $12. per month. Combined with her husband’s pay of about $13 per month, the couple could earn a good amount for that day.
*The washer woman received a tent, daily rations of food and services of the surgeon. (These must have been the perks of the job. Unless you were the woman who made……..nevermind.)

Laundry was not a one day event for women of this time. It could take up to three days to complete all the steps. Here they are in order:
Mending – Yes, dirty clothes
Stain Removal
Soaking – Which would mean this and all of the above steps would be done on (example) Monday and left overnight to soak.
Washing(read Scrubbing) and/or Boiling – 1 wash, 1 boil, 1 rinse meant at least 50 gallons of water. (Hope they camped near a creek.)
Rinsing – 3 rinses were customary (think of wringing each piece – esp. those wool uniforms – by hand! Yes, some laundresses did have wringer (a clothes squeezer), but most outside of hospital workers did not.)
Bluing – This was used for whites. Bluing does not bleach the clothes, but once added to the final rinse, gave the illusion of “white”.
Bleaching –If the Bluing did not make the white items as white as desired, they could either be laid in the sun to sun-bleach or a chemical bleach could be used. A common chemical used was Ammonia. The most common source of ammonia was STALE URINE! (Bet those clothes smelled nice and freshly laundered. Not!)
Starching – Starch helped keep dirt from being ground into the material. Remember, these men or women did not change clothes daily. Sometimes, not even weekly.
Drying – Hopefully the laundress had a place to string a clothes line. Otherwise, clothes would be spread on the ground or on top of shrubs. (This ended Day 2 of washing.)
Sprinkling – After the clothes were dry, the starched items were sprinkled with water, rolled up and allowed to absorb the water so they were damp. This softened the starch and made clothes easier to iron.
Ironing – Flat or Sad irons (sad meant heavy) and it took 1 ½ hrs to heat a 6 pound iron. Laundresses kept several “irons in the fire” as she couldn’t wait 1 ½ each time an iron cooled. (I suspect this is where the saying too many irons in the fire came from.) They didn’t really put the iron in the fire though as that would have meant streaking soot over clean clothes so they used upside down frying pans set on the fire grate. I suppose the women might have brought their own Trivit from home. Anyway, ironing costs a soldier about 3 cents per shirt.
Airing – This was an important step as the clothes were still damp after ironing and they were folded damp, they would crease and if the weather was warm, mildew.
Folding – Even women doing laundry at home folded as most “poor to middle class” didn’t have closets.
 OK, I could go on and on with interesting facts but for now……….Go kiss your washing machine and dryer!